A farmer has been ordered to pay a total of £3,215 for illegally trapping wild birds on his land.
Ivan Crane (53), of East Langton, was sentenced at Leicester Magistrates’ Court after being found guilty last month of three offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act relating to trapping birds without an appropriate licence.
Police launched an investigation, in August, after two wire cage traps, set on the ground for magpies, were found on his land.
Crane, who breeds pheasants for shooting, said he laid the traps to prevent crows and magpies from attacking young birds.
In normal circumstances, he would have been protected by a general licence from wildlife watchdog Natural England, which allows landowners to take wild birds in specific circumstances, for example, to protect other species.
Crane, however, was also convicted in April last year, of illegally using spring-loaded rat traps to stop birds of prey eating his young pheasants.
Due to changes in legislation in January 2010, anyone found guilty of illegally trapping wild birds could no longer rely on the general licence as a defence. In mitigation, Crane said he had not been aware of the change in the law.
Magistrates fined him £2,500 and he was ordered to pay costs.
After the hearing, Paul Cantwell, of Natural England, said: “Having been convicted of wildlife crimes just a few months earlier, Crane should have known he was not eligible to act under the authority of a general licence – and should have applied for an individual licence.”