Man admits keeping owl heads in jam jars for sale

Court news
Court news

A man has admitted illegally keeping owl heads in jam jars and other bird limbs for a business targeting pagans.

Police raided the Inverness home of Gordon Taylor and found items including a buzzard's wing, a pendant made from a tawny owl's foot, and two barn owl heads in jam jars.

It came after officers uncovered an online business run by the 46-year-old which traded under the name of Wild Wizard Crafts, aimed at those with an interest in paganism or shamanism.

Taylor was given a £750 fine after pleading guilty to illegally keeping bird products from protected species for sale at Inverness Sheriff Court on Monday.

In a statement release after the trial, assistant procurator fiscal for specialist casework Laura Buchan said: "I welcome today's sentence and the message it sends to anyone involved in this illegal market.

"The existence of such a market drives persecution of these protected species.

"In addition the prosecution highlights to other commercial sellers that they need to understand the legislation and take seriously their obligations in respect of the international convention on the trade in endangered species of fauna and flora."

The potential value of the 11 recovered items during the raid in November 2015 would have been around £695.

Constable Mark Banks, from the local Wildlife Crime Unit, said in a statement released after the trial: "Although this is an unusual case for the Highlands, it is a reminder that the internet is an active arena for wildlife crime.

"The online sale of items taken from protected wildlife species will only encourage persecution of these animals."