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Thursday, 20 June, 2002, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Rare egg thief jailed
An RSPB video of the birds found in Sly's home
Investigators found rare birds in Sly's home
A rare bird enthusiast has been jailed for four months after he was caught with osprey eggs at his home.

Investigators discovered 30 dead birds, including some rare breeding birds, three osprey eggs and egg collecting equipment at Paul Sly's house in Willenhall, Coventry.

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

Sentencing him on Thursday, chairman of the bench Ron Watkins said the offences were "so serious only a custodial sentence will do".

Paul Sly
Paul Sly was jailed for four months

He said: "The public have a right to enjoy the birds without them being stolen and despite two previous convictions you still persist with offending."

Rare eggs

Police and RSPB officers found three osprey eggs when they raided his home in Meadfoot Road in March.

The eggs had been taken from a nest in Dunkeld, on Tayside, Scotland.

Also discovered at his home were five other types of egg and 23 dead birds in a freezer.

Osprey chick
The osprey is a rare breeding bird

Nigel Wilkins, prosecuting, told the court the osprey eggs had been taken from the Tayside site between May and June, 2000.

He said: "There have been a lot of past incidents of rare eggs being taken from this site.

"The osprey is a very rare species of bird and there are, I'm told, only 160 pairs of the bird left in the UK."

The court was told Sly had two previous convictions in 1999 and 2000 relating to the theft of rare birds eggs and was fined.

David Tandy, defending, said that Sly was "obsessed" with wildlife and birds eggs and started collecting at 18.

But he said Sly had since changed his ways because of his new partner.

"She told him that if he continued to collect birds eggs she would leave him immediately. Mr Sly has not collected any eggs since."


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28 May 02 | England
22 Apr 02 | UK
29 Mar 02 | Scotland
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