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Jury considers its verdict on accused egg collector.

A BIRD-LOVER who is accused of illegally buying protected eggs and stuffed birds will discover his fate today.

John Dodsworth is on trial at Newcastle Crown Court charged with three counts of buying several protected specimens, which he kept at his home.

A police raid two years ago found two bald eagle eggs, two honey buzzard eggs, four Egyptian vulture eggs, four stuffed owls and a Montagu's harrier.

Those are all species with the highest level of protection under legislation.

Dodsworth, 49, of Rodin Avenue, Whiteleas, South Shields, denied three counts of buying a protected specimen.

One of the charges related to the purchase of a stuffed Montagu's harrier, which Dodsworth admitted buying but said he had purchased before 1997, when it became illegal to do so. The jury found him not guilty of that count last night before retiring to consider the other charges.

Peter Walsh, defending, told the court that Mr Dodsworth had paid pounds 600 for a Victorian cabinet, and the eggs were left in one of the drawers for free.

The prosecution alleges this was a ruse thought up to get around the law banning the purchase of eggs, and an auctioneer called as a witness earlier had said it was worth far less than pounds 600.

Mr Walsh said: "After Dodsworth was taken in for questioning he gave full and candid explanations for why he had the eggs. The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that he was buying the eggs and not the cabinet."

The jury will return to consider its verdict later today.

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ACCUSED John Dodsworth.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 15, 2008
Words:265
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