Words and photo by Dave Barry
An old man has been fined £8,000 for killing geese at West Knapton, near Malton.
At Scarborough magistrates court, Raymond William Twiddle, 83, pleaded guilty to intentionally killing three greylag geese.
A member of the public called the police after seeing Twiddle kill goslings with a spade and then burying two of them.
Officers with specialist wildlife crime expertise found two greylag goslings buried in a mole hill and one in long grass.
A post-mortem examination by a vet confirmed “blunt trauma” as the cause of death.
Greylag geese are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. They are amber listed and are of conservation concern in the UK.
Twiddle was fined £8,100 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £170 and £85 prosecution costs.
PC Nick Coning, who led the investigation, said: "We worked closely with the RSPCA, RSPB and CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] to secure a conviction in this case. The persecution of wild birds is unacceptable. We treat all forms of wildlife crime in North Yorkshire extremely seriously and we will deal with it professionally and thoroughly”.
Wildlife crime officer PC Graham Bilton added: "The actions of the person involved not only resulted in the death of the goslings but also caused a great deal of stress to the parent birds, who were still present when we arrived. The public need to be aware that anyone committing rural and wildlife crime will be robustly dealt with. The incident highlights the essential and continual hard work of wildlife crime officers”.
Sally Robinson of the CPS said: "This was a sickening and barbaric act. We were able to work with our partner agencies to build a robust case to put before the court. The severity of the penalty imposed in this case is a clear indication that such acts of wilful cruelty will be punished with the full force of the law”.