Serial egg-collector Matthew Gonshaw is attempting to use the court of appeal to over turn his recent ASBO preventing his from travelling to Scotland where he was able to conduct most of his obsession for collecting rare and endangered birds eggs, including many raptor eggs. This was the first order of its kind in Scotland, the court imposed an Antisocial Behaviour Order on Gonshaw preventing him indefinitely from entering Scotland during the bird breeding season (between 1 February and 31 August each year).
Gonshaw pleeded guilty to a contravention of section (1)(1)(c) and to a contravention of section 18(2) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Gonshaw had travelled to Rum on25 May 2011 and was seen on 28 May 2011 by an employee of Scottish National Heritage walking amongst a gull colony in a remote part of the island, collecting eggs. Various freshly broken egg shells were discovered where Gonshaw had been operating. Eventually he was stopped by police officers, on1 June 2011 as he waited to board the ferry to leave Rum. He was found to be in possession of 4 containers which contained 8 eggs of the Manx Shearwater, 7 eggs of the Meadow Pipit eggs and 5 eggs of the Meadow Pipit, the Reed Bunting or the Black Cap. In addition, he was in possession of a balaclava, a camping tent and camping equipment, a pair of binoculars, maps of Cairngorm and Aviemore, Inverness, Loch Ness and Culloden and the Isle of Rum, a GPS device, a head torch, a climbing prussic loop, camouflage clothing and an egg blowing kit (which included drill bits to make a hole in an egg, glass and plastic tubing for blowing out egg contents, a length of ribbon for holding an egg securely without damaging it and tweezers). All of the eggs and all of the above items have been forfeited by the court
The terms of the Antisocial Behaviour Order (ASBO) imposed by the court prohibit Gonshaw from entering Scotland between 1 February and 31 August every year, this being the period when wild birds nest and breed in Scotland. The ASBO is in force indefinitely. Breach of an ASBO without a reasonable excuse is a criminal offence which carries a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment and a fine on summary complaint and 5 years imprisonment and a fine on indictment.
Gonshaw had previously been sentenced to a period of 3 months imprisonment at Oban Sheriff Courtin October 2004 for the taking/destruction of a wild bird’s egg; the possession of 30 wild birds’ eggs and possession of a container for the purposes of committing wildlife offences. Gonshaw has a string of other convictions under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in both Scotland and England and was most recently sentenced to 6 months imprisonment on 13 December 2011 at Thames Magistrates’ Court for offences of taking and possessing over 650 wild birds’ eggs and possession of articles for the purposes of committing wildlife offences. He was made the subject of an anti-social behaviour order for 10 years by that court in February 2012, including a condition not to leave England between 1 February and 31 August for the purposes of going toScotland.