Wild bird trap man Malcolm Spencer spared jail

RSPCA inspectors found birds kept in cages inside and outside

A Derbyshire man who kept trapped wild birds in dirty conditions has been spared a jail term, despite admitting a string of animal welfare offences.

Malcolm Spencer, 67, of New Bolsover in Bolsover, pleaded guilty to 34 offences after being caught with 61 live birds.

North East Derbyshire & Dales Magistrates' Court heard Spencer set traps in his allotment and kept parrots in dirty cages.

He was given a four month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

The RSPCA said Spencer, who said he had been a bird fancier for more than 40 years, had wild birds including a redstart, marsh tits, hawfinches, skylarks, nuthatches, whitethroats, wheatears, and a blackcap.

'Cruel trade'

The court heard a number of parrots, including timneh African grey parrots and yellow crowned Amazon parrots, were discovered living in his attic in dirty cages with no water.

Many of the charges were brought in relation to the Wildlife and Countryside Act, while others related to the Animal Welfare Act.

Annette Thomas, representing Spencer, said there was no evidence to show he had benefited financially from any of the birds.

Spencer also admitted a lack of care and causing unnecessary suffering; possession of the traps and various tools; and a net and associated items for the taking of wild birds.

He was also ordered by the court to pay £1,800 costs, disqualified from keeping any avian species for 10 years and will be electronically tagged to comply with an 07:00 to 19:00 curfew order for four months.

RSPCA inspector Carroll Lamport said: "This is a horrendous, cruel trade that is not realised by the general public.

"Many or most of these birds taken from the wild will not survive in captivity and would be subjected both to physical cruelty as in this case and mental cruelty in the stress of being confined."

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