EX POLICE OFFICER PLEADS GUILTY TO STEALING WILD BIRD EGGS

RSPB Media Release

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A former Suffolk police officer, Michael Upson (of Sotherton, Suffolk) has pleaded guilty today at Norwich Magistrates Court of possessing 650 wild bird eggs collected while he was still in the Suffolk Constabulary. This follows a successful investigation by the Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies and the RSPB.

The 52-year-old was investigated by officers from the professional standards department. On 21 June 2012, a search by the police and the RSPB at Upson’s home revealed 650 wild bird’s eggs, including those of protected species such as woodlark, Cetti’s warbler and marsh harrier.

Detailed notebooks found at the house documented the police officer’s egg collecting trips with associates around the UK, including visits to: the Western Isles to steal golden eagle eggs; south Devon to take Cetti’s warbler eggs; North Wales to steal chough eggs; and the New Forest to take hawfinch eggs. These notebooks also document him taking kittiwake eggs from Lowestoft Pier, while on duty as an acting Sergeant on three different police night-shifts.

Upson, aged 52, pleaded guilty to possessing the eggs at Norwich Magistrates’ Court following a joint investigation by his old force Suffolk Police, Norfolk Police and the RSPB.

The notebooks also detailed visits to the Western Isles to steal golden eagle eggs, south Devon to take Cetti’s warbler eggs, North Wales to steal chough eggs, and the New Forest to take hawfinch eggs, the charity said.

Mark Thomas, RSPB investigations officer, said: “Evidence from the diaries indicates that Upson stole over 900 wild bird eggs in a eight-year period. Not all of these eggs were recovered.

“That a police officer should knowingly break the law in pursuit of this obsession is shocking, and we welcome his conviction.”

The egg collection was found in an old suitcase in Upson’s loft, along with hundreds of egg data cards, which he had faked to suggest the collection was old.

The notebooks found in a plastic container hidden in the water tank in the loft gave the accurate details of when the eggs were taken, in full written accounts, according to the RSPB.

Upson claimed to have stopped egg collecting, and the evidence found indicates that he was active between at least 1991 and 2001.

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.

“Evidence from the diaries indicates that Upson stole over 900 wild bird eggs in a eight-year period. Not all of these eggs were recovered.”

The egg collection was found in the loft in an old suitcase along with hundreds of egg data cards, which he had faked to suggest the collection was old. However, the notebooks found in a plastic container hidden in the water tank in the loft gave all the accurate details of when the eggs were taken, in full written accounts.

Upson will be sentenced at Norwich Magistrates Court tomorrow.

6 comments to EX POLICE OFFICER PLEADS GUILTY TO STEALING WILD BIRD EGGS

  • che

    Michael Upson you have been named and shamed on Facebook.

  • Another crook who it seems has escaped the proper sentence, it is obvious that he was doing this while in the Police Force, which in my opinion makes it even more important that the sentence fits the crime, he was in a position of trust.
    What hope is there if even police officers are breaking the law?

  • che

    There are adequate laws in place for this sort of crime according to MP Richard Benyon…..yeah right whatever.

  • che

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  • che

    BBC Nature – Dead birds were intoxicated, an investigation finds
    http://www.bbc.co.uk
    Young blackbirds found dead near a primary school in Cumbria may have suffered from alcohol poisoning, according to an investigation.