A father and his two sons who admitted trapping and possessing wild birds have been ordered to pay a total of £2,500 and have each been given a two year conditional discharge.
Peter Probert aged 58, of Kingsmoor Caravan Park, Begelly, pleaded guilty to possession of wild birds at Haverfordwest magistrates court last Wednesday. He was ordered to pay £500 costs.
His sons 22-year-old Colwyn Probert and 20-year-old Kevin Terry Probert, of the same address, admitted possession of wild birds, having equipment, including gin traps, to trap wild birds and the taking of wild birds under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act. They were ordered to pay £1,000 costs each.
The investigation into the Begelly birdmen followed a tip off from a member of the public who had seen suspicious activity in August 2009 Further investigation by the Police and RSPCA found traps with decoy birds in them and a total of 15 Goldfinches and Bullfinches in the Proberts’ possession.
Eleven of the birds were released back into the wild, while the other four died through the stress of being captured RSPCA Inspector Kieth Hogben said the birds were not rare but ones that have survived a period in captivity can command up to £150 due to their song and appearance.
“There is big business in this sort of thing and it goes on a lot,” he said. “We take it very seriously. It is wrong to take wildlife and keep it in captivity.
“We are always appealing to people with any information on this kind of crime to either ring the national RSPCA number, 0300 1234 999, or the police. They don’t have to give their name.
“We’re hope Wednesday’s sentencing will send the message that this is illegal and we will prosecute. We hope people will think twice before doing something like this.”