Banwell falconer tries to 'hawk' birds on black market
A falconry owner who illegally displayed and sold numerous birds of prey has been fined more than £1,000, ordered to undertake 200 hours unpaid work and given a six week curfew.
Andrew McManus-Dunkley, owner of the Banwell Falconry in Smallway, near Congresbury, was found guilty of illegally displaying birds of prey for commercial gain which included a buzzard, barn owl, a tawny owl and three eagle owls.
He was convicted of illegally offering to sell two more owls and lying about the correct documents whilst selling another bird and the non-registration of a peregrine falcon when he appeared before North Somerset Magistrates Court during a two day trial which concluded on Tuesday.
Magistrates said they regarded McManus-Dunkley's offences as serious before sentencing him to 200 hours of unpaid work and ordering him to comply with a six week curfew. He was ordered to pay £1,160 costs and £150 compensation to the owner of the eagle owl he attempted to defraud.
Speaking after the hearing, investigating officer, Sergeant Andy Whysall, said: "This clearly demonstrates how by working with other agencies we can bring offenders to justice.
"This conviction should be a strong reminder to those thinking they can get away with breaking the law."
McManus-Dunkley was fined £7,000 and had a number of birds seized as part of a forfeiture order for offences early last year.
In November 2012 an inspector from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories investigated McManus-Dunkley's falconry which led to us issuing a warrant a month later which resulted in his crimes being uncovered.
Detective Inspector Nevin Hunter, head of the National Wildlife Crime Unit, said: "The actions of this man have once again undermined the activities of all who comply with the regulations regarding commercial use of and in endangered species of birds.
"Avon and Somerset Constabulary have carried out an excellent investigation and I hope reassured our communities that wildlife crime will be taken seriously where it is identified."