Norfolk man who took more than 5,000 rare bird eggs described as a ‘menace’ by RSPB officer

Mark Thomas, Investigation specialist at the RSPB with the collection of rare birds eggs found at Mr

Mark Thomas, Investigation specialist at the RSPB with the collection of rare birds eggs found at Mr Lingham's property. Picture: RSPB - Credit: Archant

A man who admitted taking more than 5,000 rare bird eggs has been described as a 'menace' and a 'one man crime wave' by the RSPB who have welcomed his jail sentence.

Daniel Lingham PHOTO: Norfolk Police

Daniel Lingham PHOTO: Norfolk Police

Daniel Lingham, 65, of Newton St Faith, has been jailed for 18 weeks after he admitted taking a total of 5,266 eggs from 134 different locations, including Norfolk.

It is the second time Lingham has been jailed for similar offences and comes after he was imprisoned for 12 weeks in 2005 for illegally collecting 3,603 eggs.

Speaking after Lingham was sentenced on Tuesday (November 27), the RSPB's senior investigations officer Mark Thomas described him as a 'one-man crime wave in terms of rare birds in Norfolk' whose actions had an 'incredible impact on birds both regionally and nationally'.

He said: 'He's a real menace, a one man crime wave.

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'Birds are in decline for lots of reasons and some of the birds he targeted like Marsh Harriers, Turtle Doves and Wood Larks are the rarest birds in the country and the birds the public love to see.'

Mr Thomas said the sentence sent out 'a really clear message that if you persist in taking birds eggs in the 21st century you will face jail'.

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He said: 'We welcome the sentence. You can't take the eggs of rare birds without expecting to go to jail. We just hope that Mr Lingham now stops taking eggs for the benefit of everybody and let the birds breed in peace.'

Mr Thomas said egg collectors, like Lingham, would often go to areas where the public are not present, hiding in bushes or trees to try and add to their collections.

Mr Thomas said Lingham went to a number of popular bird breeding habitats across Norfolk, including Kelling Heath, Massingham Heath and Cawston, where he took the eggs.

He said: 'He was going to many locations in Norfolk, over 130 in total, and he was repeatedly going to these places so a bird would lay a clutch of eggs, he would take it wait 10 days and then go back and take the repeat clutch of eggs the bird had laid.'

Fortunately, Lingham was spotted by a member of the public who reported him to the police.

Mr Thomas, who urged others to be as vigilant, added: 'Norfolk is fantastic for wildlife and birds in particular and its just a shame this guy lived in Norfolk and had obviously targeted birds where he lived.'

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