Peregrine Egg Smuggler’s Sentence Cut by Appeal Court

Bird egg smuggler Jeffrey Lendrum’s prison sentence of 30 months  has been reduced  by  the appeals court to just 18 months –  what kind of message does this send to other potential wildlife criminals we wonder? Lendrum was arrested at Birmingham International Airport while waiting for a flight to the Middle East last year.

Jeffrey Lendrum, 48, of Towcester, Northamptonshire, took the eggs from peregrine falcon nests in south Wales. He was caught by police at Birmingham Airport with egg boxes strapped to his chest. Appeal court judge Sir Christopher Holland said the original 30-month sentence was “excessive”.

The judge said Lendrum, who once served in the Rhodesian SAS, had hoped to trade the eggs for up to £70,000 in overseas markets. He had climbed to the tops of trees in the Rhondda valley to take the eggs before abseiling down, the court in London heard. Lendrum sparked a terrorist alert at the airport after a cleaner grew suspicious when he kept disappearing to the toilet. When caught by police, he had been trying to examine the condition of the 14 eggs, fearing they may have perished. The falcon eggs had been placed in socks before they were taped to his body.The judge said the eggs were in good condition when recovered, and 11 of them were eventually “returned to the wild”.

Lendrum was jailed at Wolverhampton Crown Court in August last year.

Guy Shorrock an RSPB Senior Investigation Officer told the BBC’s Claire Marshall last year the birds were ”victims of human greed” and Lendrum stood to make ”tens of thousands of pounds” from his crimes.

Now that the Appeals Court have reduced Lendrum’s original sentence, which many people thought was already very lenient considering the financial gain Lendrum stood to make,  others may now decide to follow the example set by Lendrum.

Goshawk breeder Lee Featherstone said tougher penalties were needed.

Mr Featherstone who helped to hatch rare falcon eggs confiscated from an egg smuggler last year at Birmingham Airport has said the 30-month prison sentence handed down for the offence is unlikely to stop others.

Mr Featherstone, who has bred birds of prey for 15 years, said: “It really offends me when people like Lendrum are referred to as falconers. “A falconer does everything he can to ensure a bird that belongs in the wild stays in the wild.

“That’s all I did.  Lendrum’s  aim was the total opposite.” “This guy’s been done for stealing eggs before and with the massive amounts of money involved, a few months is hardly going to stop him.”

Several Nests Targeted by Lendrum

Mr Featherstone was called by police to help identify the eggs, which had been stolen from a number of nests in south Wales, after they arrested Lendrum at Birmingham International Airport on 3 May as he waited to board a flight.

Lendrum, 48, from York Close, Towcester, Northamptonshire, had placed the eggs in socks and strapped them to his chest to keep them warm, Warwick Crown Court heard was told last year.

The birds were fostered by captive-bred falcons and have since been released into the wild

He was reported to counter-terrorism police by a cleaner who became suspicious of his frequent trips to an airport shower room.

When the eggs were taken off him, police placed them on the back of their office computers to keep them warm.

Mr Featherstone established that 14 of the 15 eggs found on Lendrum were fertilized peregrine falcon eggs.

He said the 15th egg, a single unfertilised chicken egg, had probably been bought in a supermarket and painted pinkish brown.

He believes that may have been a decoy attempt, to break open in front of customs officers in case he was stopped.

Mr Fetherstone. a self-employed Birmingham electrician was asked by police to care for the eggs. He said: “I came in my van and had no incubators to transport them in so I had to use the socks he had used and strap them to my chest too. “It was a bit tricky driving withthem, but luckily I only live about 10 minutes from the airport.” He slept on the sofa and turned the eggs over every hour for the next 15 days with the help of his family.

The UK Falconry Forum donated extra incubators and helped transport the birds, 11 of which survived. Once the eggs had hatched at  two week old all the chicks were replaced into suitable wild peregrine nests in Scotland where they were fostered before fledging naturally into the wild.

Mr Featherstone said: “I don’t even know where they’ve gone, what matters to me is that they’re free.”

“People who want wild creatures as trophies disgust me.”

1 comment to Peregrine Egg Smuggler’s Sentence Cut by Appeal Court

  • This news has made me very angry, people like Lendrum are the scum of the earth, taking eggs from nests to further his own greed and showing no compassion or regard for the Peregrines, the only thought being for the huge sums of money he would pocket.

    How would he like it if someone broke into his house and took his children away and sold them, perhaps he wouldn’t care as he seems to have no scruples what so ever. Lee is correct these people are not falconers they are heartless crooks who deal in sorrow to get money, going to any lengths to do so.

    This shows that our protected raptors hold no value to the very people who have the power to show people like Lendrum that this behaviour will not be tolerated. He will without doubt come out of prison and do it again, what a shame he didn’t fall and break his neck when climbing down from to the nest sites he plundered, How can a man who has served in the SAS bring such dishonour to it’s very name and sink so low? I presume he will be watched when he comes out of prison, the best thing for us all would be if he returned to his own country and left our raptors alone.