A farmer and his son were caught on camera as they illegally tried to snare protected birds of prey, a court heard.
Ivan Peter Crane (53), and Ivan Mark Crane (26), appeared at Market Harborough Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
The court heard the men used spring-loaded rat traps to try to stop raptors feeding on young pheasants at Astley Grange Farm, in East Langton.
But undercover investigators from the RSPB, who visited the farm last summer as part of a wider investigation into the killing of birds of prey in the county, had set up secret cameras.
Mark Williams, prosecuting, said: “The investigators found that spring traps, normally used to snare rats, had been placed on top of poles used as perches by birds of prey. Raptors or birds of prey are protected by law.”
Ivan Crane senior, of Astley Grange Farm, pleaded guilty to using a spring trap to kill or take a wild bird. He also admitted possessing a spring trap capable of committing an offence, and two pesticide offences. His son, of the same address, also pleaded guilty to possessing a spring trap.
Ian Besance, for both men, said: “Mr Crane senior takes full responsibility for the offences. It is true that for a short time Mr Crane senior did set a trap until his wife told him to come to his senses.”
Mr Besance said no birds were actually killed.
Ivan Peter Crane was fined a total of £3,000 and his son was ordered to pay £500.