Devon birds' eggs theft pair fined

Crang's eggs
Image caption Wild birds' eggs were recovered in raids by police on the defendants' homes

Two men have been sentenced for stealing rare-breed birds' eggs, following a two-year investigation.

Marcus Betteridge and Seymour Crang admitted stealing the prized eggs and other connected offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Betteridge, 52, of Jubilee Road, Totnes, was fined £1,000 after he admitted disturbing Dartford warblers.

Seymour Crang, 49, of Bittaford, was fined £1,000 after admitting unlawful possession of wild birds' eggs.

'Clear message'

They were also each ordered to pay £200 in costs at Newton Abbot Magistrates' Court.

PC Josh Marshall, a wildlife crime officer, said after sentencing: "This prosecution and sentencing highlights the benefits of joint partnership working in tackling wildlife crime and the determination to bring offenders to justice.

"This should send a clear message to persons engaged in such criminal activity that they will be identified and brought to justice."

Police, the RSPB and the National Wildlife Crime Unit worked together on the operation, executing search warrants in November 2010 at the homes of Betteridge and Crang.

They discovered wild birds' eggs, collecting equipment, photographs and diaries relating to activities at the nesting sites of wild birds.

The RSPB lists the Dartford warbler on its "amber" species list, meaning it is often considered among one of the country's rarer breeds.

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