Collector of wild birds' eggs jailed

Dec. 14, 2011 at 12:44 AM
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LONDON, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- A British collector of wild bird eggs, who has already served several jail terms, was given six months Tuesday for robbing nests of endangered species.

Matthew Gonshaw, 49, admitted possessing almost 700 eggs found in a raid on his home in East London, The Guardian reported. The collection included 12 avocet, eight osprey and seven golden eagle eggs, as well as those of more common species.

Some of the golden eagle eggs were taken when the chicks were only days away from hatching, investigators said. They said the developing chicks appeared to have been removed live from the eggs.

"The theft of the golden eagle eggs in particular was incredibly cruel," said Mark Thomas, an investigator with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. "He took them about one week from hatching and he has basically removed a live chick from the eggshell for his own personal satisfaction."

Gonshaw was arrested in June on Rum in the Hebrides in Scotland. He also robbed nests on England's east coast.

Police were seeking an anti-social behavior order that would subject Gonshaw to a five-year sentence if he is caught again. He was jailed in 2002 and twice in 2005.

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