Man kept wild Goldfinches on London allotment


A London man has been given a suspended sentence for illegally keeping Goldfinches captured from the wild.

Mazaffer Yildiz-Coban, 56, of Warwick Road, Enfield, appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday (6 September). He pleaded guilty to three offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

The RSPCA was contacted by the Metropolitan Police, who received a report that the birds were being kept at the allotments in Larmans Road, Enfield. One of the investigating RSPCA inspectors – who cannot be named as he works undercover – commented: “He had two decoy birds set up outside in small cages, one on the ground and one in a tree. The cages were cramped and dirty, and the birds were very distressed at being confined.

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“The set-up looked like it had been there for some time, but a lot of thought had gone into it. The trap was set with a piece of string running behind a shed so he could lay in wait to capture unsuspecting birds.”

Yildiz-Coban pleaded guilty to possession of live wild birds, namely five Goldfinches; possessing a clap-net capable of being used for the taking of wild birds; and failing to meet the welfare needs of wild birds. He was given an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay costs and fines totalling £515. He was also disqualified from keeping all animals for life.

The RSPCA inspector added: “The court said that the offences were serious and we couldn’t agree more. To take a wild bird from its natural habitat and shut it inside a tiny cage is so cruel. They suffer greatly in captivity, are not used to being in cages and, sadly, often die.” The five Goldfinches were all released back into the wild.

All wild birds in England and Wales, along with their nests and their eggs, are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and they may only be caught or killed under specific licences.