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10 out of 10 for 'Greg the egg'

5 March 2014

Guy Shorrock
Senior Investigations Officer
E-mail: guy.shorrock@rspb.org.uk

A Coventry man has firmly cemented his place as the UK's most convicted egg collector with his tenth and latest prosecution, three more than any other collector.  

On 3 March 2014, Gregory Peter Wheal (50yrs) of Vinecote Road, Coventry appeared for trial at Coventry Magistrates Court.  This followed an incident in September 2013 when a West Midlands Police Officer attended his home on an unrelated matter and found four birds' eggs on display in his lounge.

These were seized and later identified by RSPB as two guillemot, one razorbill and a mute swan.  Wheal told the court his interest in birds' eggs was locally well known, and he was called by nickname 'Greg the egg'.  A couple of years earlier he had been approached by two people asking if he was interested in having a few eggs they had apparently held for a number of years.  Wheal stated he believed these were old eggs taken before the start of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and therefore legal to keep.

The court were not satisfied with the details provided and fined him £200 with £300 costs.  Mr Wheal's previous nine convictions stretched between 1987 and 2007 including courts around the UK at Lerwick, Oban, Holyhead and Norfolk.  His previous two convictions resulted in custodial sentences. 

RSPB Senior Investigations Officer Guy Shorrock stated, "Having examined numerous eggs involved with Wheal's previous court cases, we felt it unlikely these were eggs taken by Wheal himself and this was properly reflected by the court result.  However, with his level of experience in this area he should have known to take more care and not take possession of birds' eggs without having reliable information relating to their history".

Notes

For further information and to arrange an interview, please contact:

Guy Shorrock Senior Investigations Officer UK Headquarters The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL Tel 01767 693197, Mobile 07885 255830.

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