Above: Illegal trading ring: 17 men from Essex, London, Kent, County Durham, Hertfordshire and West Yorkshire have been convicted and sentenced for offences in connection with the possession of wild birds. One of four raids was carried out at this East London pub (pictured above). Photo: RSPCA
A GROUP OF men have been caught on camera trying to flee from police by jumping onto a pub roof during a wild bird raid in London.
CCTV footage from February 2, 2019 captured the moment officers from the Metropolitan Police Wildlife Crime Unit and RSPCA’s Special Operations Unit raided an East London pub to infiltrate a wild bird meet – one of the biggest wild bird operations in the UK.
The men, some with bird cages in hand, can be seen on camera fleeing from officers at The Bell pub in Leytonstone, where a tip-off had suggested people were meeting to trade illegally captured wild birds.
The pub was one of four properties searched by officers on the same day. The three other properties were private addresses, one of which had a collection of almost 200 wild birds.
Following a two-year investigation by the RSPCA, 17 men were prosecuted for their involvement in the wild bird trade and were sentenced last month.
According to the RSPCA, more than 270 birds were seized from the four separate warrants, marking the biggest ever seizures of captive wild birds in the UK.
An RSPCA officer, who cannot be named for operational reasons, said: “When we went into the pub on February 2 2019, we found a large group of men had congregated inside and outside in the beer garden, many carrying small bird cages. We discovered 40 cages of wild birds including goldfinches, linnets and a siskin, as well as 27 canaries and mules (or cross-bred birds).”
The confiscated bird were taken to RSPCA centres, with more than 150 going to the Mallydams Wildlife Centre in Hastings, East Sussex, where the birds were rehabilitated before being released. The cross-bred and domestic birds were successfully rehomed.
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