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Last Updated: Friday, 9 November 2007, 17:16 GMT
Rare birds trapped by glue sticks
Linnet
The Linnet population has plummeted in recent years
A man who trapped endangered wild birds with sticks covered in glue and seeds has been fined 750 and banned from keeping birds for five years.

William White, 60, used the so-called lime sticks to prevent the birds flying off when they landed to feed.

He was caught by undercover Scottish SPCA officers in East Lothian after a member of the public tipped them off.

White pleaded guilty to the inhumane trapping of the birds at Haddington Sheriff Court.

The court was told White had seven linnets in a cloth sack, four of which had died of shock, along with a number of lime sticks and a pot of glue when he was stopped by the officers at Windymains wood in East Lothian.

He was also found to be in possession of a number of wild birds in an aviary at his home in Temple, including lesser redpolls and linnets.

The mortality rate amongst birds caught in this way is extremely high
Pc Jim McGovern

White pleaded guilty to the inhumane trapping of the red-listed birds.

Birds are classed as red-listed because their breeding population is in rapid decline. For this reason, they can be highly sought after by breeders.

Solicitor Colm Dempsey, acting for White, told the court his client had kept birds for 50 years and had previously bred them and shown them in competitions.

He insisted that White had been trapping the birds to try and breed them and was trying to catch them in the most humane way he could.

Pc Jim McGovern, Lothian and Borders Police wildlife crime co-ordinator, said: "The mortality rate amongst birds caught in this way is extremely high and these illegally caught wild birds can be sold for up to 80 each.

"This sort of crime will affect the numbers of song birds locally as these are the sorts of birds that everyone can hear singing in the spring and summer."

Doreen Graham of the Scottish SPCA said she was "delighted" at the sentence.

She added: "The public are the eyes and ears of animal welfare and their help is essential to tackling all wildlife crime, including badger baiting, illegal trapping and poisoning birds of prey and other wildlife."



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