Above: the seized trays of wild birds’ eggs. The RSPB is currently studying the eggs to find out which species the eggs belong to and what impact this offence will have on those birds. Photo: Broadland Police

ALMOST 5,000 WILD birds’ eggs have been recovered by police in Norfolk, following a report of a male acting suspiciously in a local nature reserve.

On May 21, Broadland Police were called to Cawston Heath, near Reepham, where they arrested a man after being found with a clutch of wild bird eggs. A search warrant was carried out at the man’s home address during the early hours of May 22, which resulted in a larger discovery of nearly 5,000 eggs.

The man was arrested on suspicion of committing offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Enquiries now continue with the RSPB to establish the full extent of the recovery and to identify which species the eggs belong to.

A spokesperson for Norfolk Constabulary told Cage & Aviary Birds: “A man was arrested in connection with this incident but has since been released under investigation.”

According to the RSPB, it could take up to six weeks to identify each egg in the collection. Anyone found guilty of taking and possessing eggs from wild protected birds could face a maximum term of six months in prison and be fined a maximum of £5,000 per individual bird egg.

The RSPB’s Mark Thomas said this was the largest seizure of bird eggs for the past decade. He explained: “The number of these types of offences, and the number of collectors has declined massively since the law changed in 2001. But East Anglia is still a bit of a hot spot [for egg theft] because there are so many reserves and rare birds.”

He continued: “Wild bird egg theft in Norfolk has been quiet during the past four years, so news that someone was caught with eggs has come as a shock.”

In past similar cases, confiscated bird eggs have been passed on to off-show collections such as the Natural History Museum in Tring.

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