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A 'compulsive' collector who illegally amassed thousands of the UK's rarest birds eggs was put behind bars today.
Daniel Lingham, 65, dressed in camouflage from head to toe to swipe the eggs which had fallen from the nests of wild species at nature reserves around Norfolk, a court heard.
Police - Catapult - Binoculars - Boots - Man
But after being caught by police with a wooden catapult, binoculars and tree climbing 'crampon-style' boots, he told them: 'I've been a silly man, haven't I?'
When he was searched by officers at Cawston Heath, Norfolk on May 21, they found nine linnet eggs he said he had picked up from the ground.
Home - Newton - St - Faith - Norfolk
After searching his home in Newton St Faith, Norfolk they found 5,257 more eggs from various species stashed in rooms throughout his house.
These included eggs from rare birds such as nightingales, nightjars, turtle doves, chiffchaffs, little-ringed plovers, woodlarks and kingfishers.
Eggs - Birds - 'schedule - Species
The eggs were from 298 different birds, 53 of which were classed as 'schedule one species', meaning they were highly endangered.
Speaking at Norwich Magistrates' Court today, prosecutor Colette Harper said the eggs could have been taken from up to 134 locations across Norfolk.
Hearing - Lingham - Offences - Wildlife - Countryside
At an earlier hearing, Lingham admitted five offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
The court heard that Lingham was convicted of similar offences in 2005 when he was sentenced to 10 weeks in prison for illegally collecting more than 3,000 eggs.
Conviction - RSPB - Senior - Investigator - Mark
Speaking after the conviction, RSPB Senior Investigator Mark Thomas told MailOnline: 'Some of the species Mr Lingham has targeted are on the brink of extinction in the UK.
'We have less than 10% of the turtledoves we had just two decades ago, the species is in serious trouble across Europe and one we invest almost £200,000 a year in trying to save, and yet Mr Lingham has deliberately and spitefully targeted it in some...
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