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Last Updated: Friday, 16 November 2007, 09:09 GMT
Gamekeeper illegally caged birds
Goldfinch (pic: BTO)
Goldfinches were prized as cage birds in the 19th century
A County Durham gamekeeper who kept wild birds has been ordered to carry out 180 hours of community service.

In October 2006 RSPCA inspectors and police found two goldfinches kept in cages on land belonging to Daniel Robinson, 42, from Bishop Auckland.

He admitted two charges of possessing wild birds contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act, at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

The birds were subsequently released back into the wild.

Unnecessary suffering

Inspectors also found recordings of birdsong, a cage trap, teasel plants commonly used to attract birds, metal poles and netting, during a search of Rosemount Allotments at South Church in Bishop Auckland.

RSPCA inspector Sue Craig said: "Keeping wild birds is totally unnecessary and causes a great deal of suffering.

"Many birds die of shock because of the way they are caught. If they survive being caught, they can suffer great distress trying to fly free and hurt themselves flying into the bars of the cages they are kept in."

Robinson was also ordered pay 320 costs to the RSPCA.

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