London serial egg collector jailed for 10 more months

Matthew Gonshaw, regarded as  a serial egg collector with an obsession for rare birds eggs has been jailed for stealing hundreds of eggs including  golden eagle and osprey. When police raided Gonshaw’s east London home more than 700 eggs taken from nests, camouflage clothing, climbing equipment and maps of nesting sites were discovered.

He also confessed to stealing 12 avocet eggs from a nesting site on Two Tree Island in Essex.

Gonshaw also took eggs of other birds including peregrine falcon, dotterel, redwing and Merlin.

Gonshaw, 49, has previously been jailed for similar offences.

Although Gonshaw was given a six months sentence after admitting 10 charges of theft and possession of rare birds eggs by Thames Magistrates’ , despite being sent to prison on three pervious occasions he has failed to learn any lessons.

The Metropolitan Police were first alerted to Gonshaw illegal activities in June 2011 after intelligence claimed he had a large number of wild bird eggs which he was keeping at his address in London.

Mark Thomas from the RSPB’s Investigation Department said “Stealing the eggs of eagles and osprey is amongst the worst wildlife crimes possible in the UK” “It is clear the current powers available to the court have had very little impact on this individual, who has been jailed three times previously.”

Stephen Rodgers, of the Met’s Wildlife Crime Unit, said: “This is one of the most serious cases of wildlife crime I have had to investigate. Gonshaw’s actions directly jeopardize Britain’s wildlife and his obsession with collecting eggs threatens some of our rarest and most precious species.”

“We hope that this result here at court sends out a clear message that, together with our partners from the RSPB, we will work to protect Britain’s birds for future generations.”



In 2002 Gonshaw was jailed for three months over his egg collection.

In court he was described as a loner who abused his encyclopaedic knowledge of birds.

An Asbo application relating to Gonshaw is due to be heard on 17 February at Stratford Magistrates’ Court.

Read more on this story plus images here.

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