Tibshelf bird trapper may face jail

NDET 13-2-13 MC 15'Russell Yates outside Chesterfield Magistrates Court
NDET 13-2-13 MC 15'Russell Yates outside Chesterfield Magistrates Court

A DAD-OF-TWO who trapped wild birds and kept them in filthy conditions as well as neglecting six dogs has pleaded guilty to 22 charges.

Russell Yates (41), of Peveril Road, Tibshelf, was told he could face jail after admitting a string of offences including causing unecessary suffering to 52 wild birds and 76 pigeons.

Six dogs were found in the rear yard at his property, in filthy, freezing conditions without access to clean water. A dead dog was also found in a cage in a shed along with a dead ferret.

During the hearing at Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday, Brian Orsborn prosecuting for the RSPCA said Yates had made over £1,000 through trapping and selling wild birds - which included siskins, bullfinches, goldfinches and reed buntings.

He added: “He confined them in captivity. He has then tried to legitimise them by putting rings on their legs and gone on to sell them for a profit.

“These are serious wildflife offences.”

The court was shown a DVD taken by the RSPCA at Yates’ home showing birds frantically flying at the bars of their cages which were up to six inches full of excrement. Dead birds were found in a bucket and three birds in tiny cages, stuffed in a rucksack behind the television.

Pigeons in filthy conditions were also filmed in four lofts in the garden and dead birds were shown on the ground that had been ‘cannabilised’ along with a bag containing dead pigeons.

In mitigation, Clive Rees said Yates, who claimed incapacity benefits, suffered from ‘pigeon lung,’ a respiratory disease which causes breathlessness and dizziness and had prevented him from caring for his birds properly.

He added: “He realised the pigeons were getting too much for him and began killing them but some had been successful racing pigeons and he could not bring himself to kill them.”

Mr Rees also said Yates cared for his two teenage sons and his oldest son has learning difficulties. In adjourning the case for 11th March, district judge Andrew Davison said a jail sentence could not be ruled out.