A Washington, Tyne and Wear, businessman has been banned from keeping birds after catching magpies in an illegally-sized trap.

Stephen Carruth, 39, director of Northern Healthcare, built the Larsen trap after claiming the magpies were scaring off songbirds.

Larsen traps are legal and work by luring birds in using a live decoy through a one-way door.

But animal welfare laws stipulate the trap must be a certain size, decoy birds must be provided with food and water and the trap must be inspected every day.

Sunderland magistrates heard when RSPCA inspector Emma Ellis visited the 39-year-old’s home on Peareth Hall Road, Springwell Village she found four live magpies and one dead in the chicken wire and wood trap. RPSCA prosecutor Mrs Jackman said the birds were emaciated with ulcers on their beaks.

No food, water or shelter had been provided for them. One of the birds later died and another two had to be destroyed.

Carruth pleaded guilty to an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of intentionally killing a wild bird, and two further offences under the Wildlife Protection Act which were said to have taken place between July 6 and July 20 l ast year.

The dad-of-three admitted building the trap but told RSPCA inspectors he did not have the “stamina” to kill the birds and was waiting for someone to do it.

Instead he left them in the care of neighbours while the family went on holiday, adding: “You don’t look after rats in a trap, do you?”

Speaking in his defence, Gerald Armstrong said: “He loves animals and does want to see then hurt and thought he was doing this in a humane way.”

Source: Sunderland Echo

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