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Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 22:31 GMT 23:31 UK
Rare bird collector admits theft
An RSPB video of the birds found in Sly's garage
Investigators found 30 dead rare birds in a garage
A Coventry man has pleaded guilty to stealing a large number of rare dead birds and eggs, including osprey eggs.

A "freezer full" of rare birds was found at Paul Sly's house in Willenhall.

Investigators discovered 30 dead birds, including some rare breeding birds, three rare Osprey eggs and egg collecting equipment.

The 41-year-old admitted nine charges of theft and possession at a hearing at Coventry Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

Paul Sly
Paul Sly will be sentenced in June
Guy Shorrock, from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said: "Egg collecting is about a group of determined individuals travelling the country just to take eggs and to have them as trophies.

"It is a very strange area of crime really.

"The taxidermists are slightly different because these items do have a value.

"What was so strange about this case was to find a freezer in a little house in Coventry which was full of incredibly rare birds.

"A lot of these birds turned out to have been shot."

It is believed the osprey eggs were taken from a nest near Dunkeld in Perthshire, Scotland, in May or June 2000.

There are an estimated 140 pairs of ospreys in Scotland.

About 100 egg clutches have been taken from the Scottish population since the bird was re-colonised in the 1950s.

Tayside Police said the other birds found in Sly's house included rare breeding birds such as the chough and stone curlew.

Sentencing was adjourned for pre-sentence reports until 20 June.

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 ON THIS STORY
Mike Kilbane
"Paul Sly turned his garage into a taxidermy studio"

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See also:

22 Apr 02 | UK
29 Mar 02 | Scotland
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