British businessman stole peregrine eggs

This video from England says about itself:

2008 Derby Peregrine Falcon (5) – Courtship & Nest Scraping

Watch how our male peregrine stands, head bowed, completely still, then flies off. 90 seconds later the female waddles over and stands in the nest scrape. We then see her scrape with her legs and move stones around the nest platform. It won’t be long now before eggs will be laid.

From British daily The Guardian:

Businessman stole rare falcon eggs to sell in Dubai

Man jailed after being caught with 14 eggs – worth £70,000 – strapped to his chest at Birmingham airport

Press Association

Thursday 19 August 2010 13.49 BST

A businessman was jailed for 30 months today after he admitted trying to smuggle rare peregrine falcon eggs to Dubai.

Jeffrey Lendrum, 48, was caught with 14 eggs strapped to his body at Birmingham international airport on 3 May after he was spotted acting suspiciously by a cleaner. He had wrapped the eggs, worth £70,000, in socks before taping them to his chest.

At Warwick crown court today, Lendrum, of Towcester, Northamptonshire, admitted one count of trying to export the eggs illegally and a second charge of stealing them from a nest in south Wales.

The court was told the 14 eggs were destined for falconries in Dubai, where breeders will pay thousands of pounds on the black market for eggs snatched from the wild.

Lendrum has previous convictions in Zimbabwe and Canada for stealing rare eggs and once abseiled from a helicopter to reach a remote nest.

He was caught when a cleaner working in the Emirates airline’s business-class lounge spotted him dashing in and out of the shower. When she went to investigate, the shower had not been used and she called in counterterrorist officers, fearing the defendant had a sinister purpose.

The court was told there were only 1,400 breeding pairs of peregrine falcons in the UK and the birds were regarded as one of the most endangered species.

Jailing Lendrum, Judge Christopher Hodson said: “These were eggs you had removed from the wild in Wales and you would have reduced the number of these high-level endangered species in the wild, birds which enhance the attraction of the countryside to all.

“I quote the words of a lord justice of appeal [Lord Justice Sedley] when he says, ‘Environmental crime, if established, strikes not only at a locality and its population but in some measure to the planet and its future. Nobody should be allowed to doubt its seriousness or to forget that one side of the environmental story is always untold.'”

See also here.

UPDATE: Apparently, this businessman Lendrum is not just any businessman; but a former Special Forces mercenary in the illegal racist government of Ian Smith in South Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. Associated Press reports:

Ex-soldier jailed for stealing rare falcon eggs

Posted: Aug 19, 2010 7:45 PM Updated: Aug 19, 2010 9:05 PM

Associated Press Writer

LONDON – A former special forces soldier was jailed Thursday for attempting to sneak out of Britain with a stash of 14 rare peregrine falcon eggs hidden in socks strapped to his body.

Jeffrey Lendrum, 48, was trying to get to Dubai, where falconry is a national sport and such eggs can fetch 5,000 pounds ($11,000) each on the black market. He was caught when a cleaner spotted him behaving suspiciously in a business class lounge at Birmingham International Airport on May 3.

Lendrum originally told police he was carrying store-bought chicken eggs, which he said he used to treat a bad back, but he pleaded guilty Thursday at Warwick Crown Court in western England, standing with his arms crossed and his head bowed for nearly the entire hearing.

Prized in falconry for their phenomenal speed – they are thought to reach up to 200 miles (320 kilometers) per hour when they dive – the birds are a protected species under British law, which bars their export.

Judge Christopher Hodson said Lendrum’s crime hurt not only the local area “but in some measure to the planet and its future” and sentenced him to 30 months in jail.

Lendrum, an Irish citizen, has previous convictions for stealing rare eggs in Canada and Zimbabwe. A former member of the special forces of Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was known before its independence, he has apparently put his military training to use – at various points either rappelling down a cliff or lowering himself from a helicopter to reach particularly remote nests.

Guy Shorrock, with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said he believed Lendrum had been stealing eggs for years.

“It’s clearly very lucrative,” he said. “He has a very good buyer in the Middle East for these birds and he probably receives tens of thousands of pounds (dollars) for his trouble.”

Retired police officer Andy McWilliam, who worked on the case for the National Wildlife Crime Unit, said he was hoping to meet Lendrum behind bars to learn more about his tactics.

As for the eggs themselves, quick-thinking police made sure they were kept warm. Eleven out of the 14 have hatched, and most of the falcon chicks have since been returned to wild.



The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ site on peregrine falcons:

USA: peregrine falcons re-established in Pennsylvania after near extinction 50 years ago: here.

1 thought on “British businessman stole peregrine eggs

  1. Pingback: English Derby Cathedral peregrine falcons’ first egg | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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