A Bad Egg

Stolen eggs 2
The haul of illegally collected eggs stored in margarine boxes
in a suitcases in the loft of the culprit

A former Suffolk Police officer pleaded guilty recently to possessing 650 wild bird eggs collected while he was still in the Suffolk Police Force. This follows a successful investigation by the Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies and the RSPB.

The 52-year old was investigated by officers from the Police Professional Standards Department who on conducting a search at the offenders house revealed the eggs, including those of protected species such as Woodlark, Cetti’s Warbler and Marsh Harrier. The egg collection was found in an old suitcase in his loft along with hundreds of egg data cards hidden in a water tank.

These detailed notebooks found at the house documented egg collecting trips around the UK, including visits to the Western Isles to steal Golden Eagle eggs and the New Forest to take Hawfinch eggs. The notebooks also documented the taking Kittiwake eggs from Lowestoft Pier while the officer was on duty as an acting sergeant on three different police night-shifts.

The prosecution resulted in a suspended jail sentence and an order for 150 hours community work

Mark Thomas, the RSPB investigations officer leading the case said: "That a police officer should knowingly break the law in pursuit of this obsession is shocking, and we welcome his conviction."

It has been illegal to take the eggs of most wild birds - irrespective of their age - since the Protection of Birds Act 1954 and it is illegal to possess or control any wild birds's eggs since that time under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1961.