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Brothers guilty of bird offences.

TWO brothers were convicted of illegally disturbing a protected colony of Britain's rarest seabird during winkle-picking trips to an island nature sanctuary. Derwick and Leslie Ramsay recklessly disturbed nesting roseate terms on two separate boat trips to Coquet Island, off Amble, Northumberland, last summer. The island, which is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, is home to virtually the UK's entire breeding population of roseate tern, whose numbers have plummeted to just over 70 pairs.

The Ramsay brothers were prosecuted under the Wildlife and Countryside Act following an RSPB investigation into their winkle-picking expeditions to the island on July 20 and 22 last year.

Leslie Ramsay, 41, of Charles Road, Amble, admitted intentionally or recklessly disturbing nesting roseate terns on July 22.

Derwick Ramsay, 43, of Ivy Street, Amble, denied committing the same offence on July 20, but was found guilty following a trial.

The court was told that both of them went onto the island and caused roseate terns to panic and take flight after wandering too close to the birds' nesting boxes.

Bedlington magistrates adjourned sentence - the offence carries a maximum six months in prison and/or a fine of PS5,000 per incident - until January 25, so that probation service reports can be prepared. Mark Thomas, of the RSPB, said: "Roseate terns are incredibly rare birds, with Coquet Island being their only sanctuary left in the UK."

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 19, 2013
Words:242
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