Market Harborough farmer fined for trapping birds without appropriate licence

Natural England Press Release:

In the first case of its type in England, a Market Harborough farmer was fined £2500 (plus costs) on Monday 27 February, at Leicester Magistrates Court, after being found guilty of trapping birds on his land without an appropriate licence.

A Leicestershire Police investigation, which began in August 2011,found that 53-year-old Ivan Peter Crane, from East Langton, was not eligible to act under the terms of a General Licence from Natural England, nor had he applied for a separate individual licence.

Landowners can act under the authority of a General Licence to control some species of birds on their land for specific purposes. However, Crane’s conviction for offences under wildlife legislation in early 2011 meant that he could not rely on the terms of a General Licence and was therefore contravening the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Paul Cantwell, Natural England’s Species Enforcement Officer said: “It is the responsibility of an individual acting under any form of licence to ensure that they comply with its conditions. Contravening the terms of a licence renders people liable to conviction for offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act – which a General Licence would ordinarily protect them against. Having been convicted of wildlife crimes just a few months earlier, Mr Crane should have known that he was not eligible to act under the authority of a General Licence – and should have applied for an individual licence if he wanted to control birds in this way.”

Guy Shorrock, RSPB Senior Investigations Officer said: “We have long been concerned about the improper use of cage traps, whether intended for catching magpies, or being illegally adapted to take birds of prey. These traps need to be used responsibly and we welcome the efforts by Natural England to improve the conditions relating to use of these traps.”

In April, Crane was fined £1000 at Market Harborough Magistrates Court, for using a spring trap in an attempt to stop birds of prey from feeding on his young pheasants. He pleaded guilty to the offence, after undercover investigators from the RSPB caught him on covert cameras, set up as part of a wider investigation into the killing of birds of prey across the county.

5 comments to Market Harborough farmer fined for trapping birds without appropriate licence

  • Mike Price

    There is a very good guide to legal/illegal traps to be found at

  • Carol Rawlings

    Well done everyone concerned. The sooner these criminals realise that they don’t own wildlife and that is is our natural heritage they are attacking the better. To say nothing of the suffering that is often caused to creatures that get caught in these traps.

  • paul williams

    Carcasses of protected buzzards found shot dead
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  • We all need to badger the RSPB, who say that they are supporting the e-petition but don’t seem to be doing that much, talk is cheap, it is no good saying that they are supporting it, they need to get their members to all sign it. Spoke to Mark Avery in the week who is certainly doing all he can to push the petition, pity he is still not the Conservation Director of the RSPB, things would have moved then. I urge everyone to do whatever they can whether it is getting all of your friends and family to sign or pestering and nagging the RSPB, this petition must not fail it is the only way forward in the fight to protect our wonderful raptors.
    Mark Avery has written an article in the latest issue of Birdwatch it is well worth the read, it also mentions the e- petition.

  • gamehawker

    People still banging on about signing the e.petition,rolls eyes,has the case above proves there’s already laws in place to convict any criminal intent towards raptors,no wonder hardly anyone is taking any notice of the petition. What you want to look at is how can so much money be used by the R.S.P.B to reintroduce,golden eagles,white tailed seas eagles,red kites into a country {{{{eireland}}}that has no bans or restrictions against the use of poisons like we have hear ,see there trying to keep the huge number of eagles of both species killed already under wraps…beggars bloody belief.