A retired solicitor has been fined more than £4000 for taking wild birds eggs from a nest on the Orkney Islands.
William Beaton, 73, from Devon, pled guilty at Kirkwall Sheriff Court yesterday to wildlife crimes carried out in late May and early June this year on Orkney.
Beaton was spotted collecting eggs on a beach at Furrowend, Shapinsay and, when challenged by the landowner, presented an arctic tern egg which he was told to replace.
He was detained by police when he got back to Kirkwall on June 4 where he was found to be in possession of two rock dove eggs. A search of his car found a further eight eggs, including three Great Skua eggs and an extending spoon, used to collect eggs.
As well as a fine of £4,200, the eggs and extending spoon were forfeited by the court. The eggs will now go to the Department of Natural Sciences at the National Museum of Scotland.
Gary Aitken, Procurator Fiscal, Wildlife and Environment said: “Scotland is home to a wide range of wild bird species, both rare and common, and all are protected by law.
“It is an offence to intentionally take the egg of any wild bird as it can have serious implications for their conservation and habitat.
“We hope this prosecution will serve as a clear message to others who participate in the illegal practice of collecting wild bird eggs that this type of offending will not be tolerated.”