Serial egg thief Daniel Lingham receives custodial sentence

Daniel Lingham, 65, was sentenced today at Norwich Magistrates Court after earlier pleading guilty to five charges relating to the unlawful possession of over 5,000 eggs including 75 listed on Schedule 1 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act (species given the highest level of protection) including Marsh harrier.

[Daniel Lingham, photo by Norfolk Police]

Lingham was jailed for a total of 18 weeks, reduced from 26 weeks because of his guilty pleas, and had to fofeit all his equipment. He was also given a 10-year criminal behaviour order (which replace ASBOs) banning him from all Norfolk nature reserves for ten years. If he breaks this ban he could be jailed for five years.

Ah, if only he’d done his Marsh harrier egg-stealing on a grouse moor – he’d probably have been made very welcome and nobody would have reported him. But had one of those pesky RSPB Investigators caught him red-handed on one of their covert cameras, stealing the harrier eggs from the moorland nest, he could have relied upon the deafening silence of the grouse moor manager not to identify him.

This is the second time Lingham has been jailed for egg-collecting offences. In 2005 he was sentenced to ten weeks in custody following the discovery of 4,000 eggs at his home in Newton St Faith.

Well done to the RSPB Investigations Team, Norfolk Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for securing this latest conviction.

It remains to be seen whether this time Lingham’s sentence is serious enough to act as a deterrent.

Details of his guilty plea (here) and his sentence (here).

[RSPB Investigations Officer Mark Thomas with some of Lingham’s collection. Photo by RSPB]

16 thoughts on “Serial egg thief Daniel Lingham receives custodial sentence”

  1. 28 weeks for a total of >5,400 eggs (75 of them Schedule 1 species) in his sordid ‘career’. Some deterrent!!! Don’t hold your breath RPUK!

  2. It would be highly appropriate if his weeks of incarceration could be arranged to take place during the 2019 breeding season. That would ensure that he wouldn’t succumb to temptation for at least one year. Also, imagine him fretting away in the knowledge that there were tens of thousands of eggs out there which he couldn’t get at!

    I like RPUK’s Denton Moor analogy. If you’re not familiar with this case, see:

  3. Piss poor sentence for such a massive amount of damage by a repeat offender, but apparently being done for collecting birds’ eggs earns its practitioners little respect and much derision in jail, so hopefully a little compensation.

  4. On first reading you think great, an egg collector has been sent to prison. But when you read that this man has a previous conviction for the same offence, which clearly was not sufficient to deter him from committing the exact same offence, what has actually happened here is this: A man amasses a collection of around 5000 eggs, he goes to prison for 10 weeks and his collection is destroyed. On his release he immediately sets about replacing the 5000 eggs he has ‘lost’. Once he has amassed another collection of 5000 eggs he is arrested again and sent to prison for 18 weeks, ( how long he actually serves remains to be seen but with ‘good behaviour’ could be considerably less ).
    Because the first sentence was no deterrent a further 5000 eggs were taken and if this latest sentence is no deterrent yet another 5000 eggs will be taken ! From the birds point of view it would have been better to do nothing !
    Magistrates have the power to impose an unlimited fine and/or six month’s imprisonment PER EGG. This man had 75 eggs from birds listed on Schedule 1 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act, (species given the highest level of protection). What do you have to do to get the maximum sentence !

  5. I think most folk have already said it– very light sentence I would have thought at least 18 months would have been more appropriate with a lifetime ban from ALL nature reserves and conservation designated land ( SSSIs, SPAs etc.)

  6. There is clearly a multitude of things wrong with the criminal justice system. It is seriously awry. It is not truly a “criminal justice system”. It is merely a “criminal system”. Justice has gone.
    Take a look at this:-
    That thug should have been put away for 10 years or more and yet he got less that the egg nutter. All the rotters in this country seem to have an easier time than law abiding citizens.

  7. Guy needs help, he obviously has obsessive behaviour around egg collecting. Thankfully it’s a hobby (like butterfly collecting) that no longer has any validity, so there are far fewer new comers to it

  8. Our justice system never seems to take wildlife crime seriously, whether it be egg or butterfly collecting, raptor killing. fox hunting, badger baiting. “oh, its just a hobby, whats the fuss “

  9. He clearly has problems, and needs help, but the birds also need protection. This ‘sentence’ will provide neither, and at considerable expense to the tax payer. Incredibly frustrating.

  10. Perhaps he should be satellite tagged during the bird breeding season? Cheaper than keeping him at her majesty’s pleasure for 9 weeks I suspect.

      1. I was thinking that chaining him to a wall in prison would be a good idea. That used to happen in prisons. There were never roof top protests in those days.

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