Convicted egg thief pleads guilty, again

According to the YorkshireLive website, a 63-year-old Huddersfield man has admitted stealing almost 200 wild bird eggs, including those belonging to endangered species (see here).

Terence Potter, from Huddersfield, appeared at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on 17th February 2021 charged with two counts of possessing an article capable of being used to take birds eggs, three counts of possession of a wild bird’s eggs and three counts of taking wild bird eggs.

The charges brought against Mr Potter, of Cumberworth Lane, Upper Cumberworth, date back to April 2020 with allegations that he took 179 black headed gull eggs, four golden plover eggs and three curlew eggs.

In Holmfirth, in April 2020, Potter was found to be in possession of a number of items that helped in his removal of those eggs including syringes, binoculars, egg blowing equipment, thermal imaging binoculars and an incubator as well as handwritten data cards.

The curlew, the largest European wading bird, is listed as being under threat by the RSPB website stating its UK conservation status is red.

Potter will be sentenced at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on April 23.

Potter is not new to this area of criminality. Eight years ago he pleaded guilty to nine related offences including six charges of taking birds’ eggs, two charges of possession of 587 eggs (including a number of Schedule 1 raptor eggs), and possessing articles to commit offences. He also had his shotgun removed for insecure storage. He was given a two-year conditional discharge and had to pay £85 costs.

Clearly an insufficient deterrent. It’ll be interesting to see what his sentence is this time.

[Potter’s illegal egg collection in 2012, photograph by Bob Elliot, from RSPB’s Legal Eagle Newsletter #70]

14 thoughts on “Convicted egg thief pleads guilty, again”

  1. Lock him up. £85 wouldn’t deter anyone. The punishment needs to fit the crime. Legislation needs to change in order to recognise the importance of our wildlife

      1. Apparently prison isn’t very kind to egg collector’s. Stealing and blowing birds’ eggs isn’t regarded as a very ‘macho’ crime and doesn’t earn you much respect with your new neighbours. I can’t say I have any sympathy.

    1. I would be horrified if someone who got a conditional discharge will not get some kind of severe sentence. I have said before that I think prison university for criminals and would favour a seriously long community service order with a tag to record his whereabouts.

  2. Why would he want 179 Black-headed Gull eggs? Was he selling them on to a restaurant for human consumption (I have read elsewhere that gulls eggs can command high prices) and if so has the restaurant owner been identified? And why only “allegations” that he took these eggs – where are the eggs (i.e. the evidence)?

    Very sloppy reporting.

    1. To be fair I think the article is pretty factual. The charges are what he is alleged to have done (i.e. allegations). Potter has pleaded guilty to those allegations/charges. He will be sentenced for the crime on 23 April. I presume the eggs have been seized by the police, unless they had already been traded or otherwise disposed of by Potter.

      Why anyone should feel the need to take 179 black-headed gull eggs is hard to fathom but I suspect you are right that he intended to trade them either to other collectors or to restaurants.

  3. Its expensive locking people up; repeat offenders should be simply subject to a local Lockdown or be tagged through April till June; if necessary for 5-10 years so that this obsession is broken; electronic tagging can depict their whereabouts accurately.

  4. I agree with Peter’s comment.
    Satellite tagging?
    Who knows, he might even disappear in the vicinity of a grouse moor !!!!!!

  5. This appears to be xxxxx xxxxx as well as some kind of perverted hobby. xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx I don’t care if it’s expensive to lock people up – if he’d got 2 years inside the first time chances are we wouldn’t be going through this rigmarole again. It’s a bloody good job I’m not the one to be sentencing him…..

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