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Polegate man sentenced for animal cruelty

A man who cruelly kept a wild goldfinch in a cage has been banned for life from keeping or transporting birds.

Officers attended a property in Windmill Hill, Polegate, on January 23, 2022 and found the wild goldfinch (pictured above) locked in a cage.

The RSPCA attended and took the goldfinch into its care. Sadly, despite the best efforts of veterinary staff, the bird died 10 days later due to the distress it suffered being taken from its natural habitat and caged.

Tyler Earwaker, 22, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a wild bird contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act. After being interviewed by officers from the Rural Crime Team, he was charged and pleaded guilty to the offence when he appeared at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (August 10).

Earwaker, of Beatty Road in Eastbourne, was sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid work, ordered to pay a £95 victim surcharge and £85 in court costs, and given a Community Protection Warning (CPW) that instructs him not to trespass on any private land without the landowner’s written permission.

He was also banned for life from dealing in, keeping, transporting or arranging transport for any type of bird or wildfowl.

Rural Crime Team PC Carlo Leone said: “The trade in wild songbirds such as this is a cruel one. Removing a wild bird from its natural habitat and placing it in a tiny cage for a person’s own amusement can cause the birds to suffer immeasurably, as happened in this case.

“We take offences against all animals incredibly seriously, and will not tolerate any behaviour which causes distress or harm to wildlife.”

Anyone who has information relating to wildlife offences is encouraged to report it to police online or by calling 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.

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