Bassenthwaite ospreys: Farmer guilty of disturbing nest

Image source, Lake District Osprey Project
Image caption, Ospreys returned to the Lake District in 2001 and are now a tourist attraction

A farmer has been convicted of two charges of intentionally disturbing the nest of a pair of breeding ospreys.

Paul Barnes, 58, from Braithwaite near Keswick, was found guilty following a three-day trial at Workington Magistrates' Court.

He drove his tractor and trailer with a group of children close to the Bassenthwaite site in June 2017, scaring the birds from their nest.

He must pay a £300 fine, £2,000 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Tourist attraction

Barnes said he conducted conservation tours as part of his farming business.

The court heard cameras monitoring the site had shown him and his group right below the nest.

The adult ospreys had flown away for 20 minutes, it was told.

Judge Gerald Chalk said this was caused by Barnes' deliberate and reckless actions in taking people so close to protected birds.

The charges against the 58-year-old were brought under the Country and Wildlife Act 1981.

Ospreys are a schedule one species, which means it is an offence to intentionally or recklessly cause disturbance at, on or near an active nest.

The birds returned to the Lake District in 2001 after an absence of 150 years.

Since then they have become a tourist attraction and can be observed from viewpoints or via a webcam.

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