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Wednesday, May 5, 1999 Published at 18:50 GMT 19:50 UK


Jail call for rare egg thieves

The red kite is restricted to isolated parts of the UK

Wildlife groups have condemned as too lenient a 7,000 fine imposed on two collectors who stole hundreds of eggs from some of the UK's rarest birds of prey.

Jan Ross and Kevin Gray, from Manchester, stole eggs from protected species such as red kite, osprey and perigrine falcon.

[ image: The men stole more than 300 eggs]
The men stole more than 300 eggs
The pair kept a diary of their egg-stealing trips which took them across England, Scotland and Wales.

The fine was imposed at Bury magistrates court after they were found guilty of offences under the Wildlife Protection Act.

The men were arrested following a joint police and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) investigation which recovered more than 300 rare birds eggs, tree-climbing equipment, maps and an inflatable dingy from the homes of the two men.

But the RSPB says the fines were not stiff enough and have called for prison sentences and a government register of egg thieves similar to that for sex offenders.

The magistrates were told that Ross faced similar charges in Scotland.

He had been stopped with another convicted egg collector last March with climbing equipment and a satellite system which wildlife experts allege were being used to track a white-tailed eagle, Britain's rarest bird of prey.

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