In the Media

Prolific rare egg thief sentenced today

PUBLISHED December 13, 2011

Matthew Gonshaw of Bow, East London, was convicted today at Thames Magistrates? Court, London of 10 charges in relation to taking and possessing wild bird eggs and has been sentenced to six months imprisonment. The 10 charges included taking five golden eagle eggs and 12 avocet eggs from the wild, and possessing eggs from specially-protected species, including: seven golden eagle eggs; eight osprey eggs; 12 avocet eggs; three peregrine eggs; three red kite eggs; and 12 eggs of other specially protected species. The remaining wild birds eggs were all illegally held but were from species, not covered by Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Becky Owen, reviewing lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service in London, said: ?We have worked closely with the RSPB and the Met Police Wildlife Crime Unit to secure this conviction and our hope is it sends out a strong message about the seriousness of these crimes. Matthew Gonshaw?s criminal actions caused untold damage to wildlife in the UK. He has plundered nearly 700 eggs, including some from endangered species such as Golden Eagles and Ospreys. His criminal actions not only had an impact upon the success of the species but can cost local communities millions of pounds as hundreds of man hours are spent each year trying to prevent people from taking the precious eggs.?