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Boston aviary intruder pleads guilty

S0695220A LINCOLNSHIRE MAN has been charged with vagrancy – “being found in or upon enclosed premises” – at a private property housing exhibition-quality lovebirds in Leverton, near Boston.

At Boston Magistrates’ Court on February 15, David Anthony Holland of Hurns End, Old Leake, Boston, pleaded guilty. He was fined £200 with a victim surcharge of £30 plus £85 costs.

Last June, 30 closed-ringed lovebirds – 20 Nyasa (Agapornis lilianae) and 10 peach-faced – were stolen from Parrot Society member Colin Ash’s birdroom. Mr Ash, 67, told Cage & Aviary Birds: “It took about 10 years to establish a reliable breeding colony of Nyasa lovebirds, which consisted of 10 breeding pairs and 16 others made up of older birds – some were over 10 years old.

“However, the security on the aviaries was poor – I had lived at the address for 23 years and had kept birds all that time without any problems.”

Though Mr Ash later found a number of his closed-ringed Nyasas at a local bird sale, the police were unable to make arrests. Shortly after the incident, Mr Ash upgraded security and included alarms and CCTV at his property.

On September 3, 2016, a CCTV camera caught Mr Holland in Mr Ash’s garden, which led to the conviction.

Mr Ash explained: “To my surprise and anger I found that a person was creeping round our aviaries. The footage shows a man with a torch clearly examining the aviary locks.

“He then spots the red light on the night camera and looks directly at it, before disappearing out of my garden. There is no doubt that he was after the birds.

“This footage enabled me to recognise the intruder as Mr Holland from a local auction, which lead to a police investigation.” No birds have been restored to Mr Ash.

● Anyone with information about the stolen lovebirds, please contact John Hayward at the National Theft Register on 01869 325 699.

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