Falconer fined for illegal bird displays

Andrew McManus Dunkley.

Andrew McManus Dunkley. - Credit: Archant

A MAN who sold birds of prey and put on illegal displays of eagle owls and buzzards in North Somerset has been fined and handed a six-week curfew.

Andrew McManus-Dunkley, owner of Banwell Falconry, was found guilty last Tuesday of illegally displaying birds such as a buzzard, barn owl, tawny owl and three eagle owls for commercial gain at North Somerset Courthouse.

He was also convicted last of illegally offering to sell two more owls, lying about the correct documents while selling another bird and the non-registration of a peregrine falcon after a two-day hearing.

The falconry owner, who was based in Smallwell, was told by magistrates his offences were serious before being handed 200 hours of unpaid work and ordering him to comply with a six-week curfew.

McManus-Dunkley also had to pay £1,160 in costs and £150 in compensation to the owner of the eagle owl he attempted to defraud.

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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.”

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McManus-Dunkley was fined £6,000 and he had a number of birds seized as part of a forteiture order for offences early last year.

Detective Inspector Nevin Hunter, head of the National Wildlife Crime Unit, said: “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.”

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