£2,000 reward posted for capture of East Durham rare egg thieves

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A REWARD has been offered for information leading to a conviction after the theft of rare seabird eggs.

More than 50 little tern eggs were stolen on June 19 from a conservation site at Crimdon Beach, East Durham, where 65 pairs of the birds had been nesting.

Little terns are one of the UK’s most threatened seabirds, and the theft of the eggs could have had a catastrophic effect on the survival of species in the North East.

Now the RSPB and Teesmouth Bird Club have offered a £2,000 reward to help catch the egg thieves.

Bird club member Alistair McLee said: “The club members were outraged to discover this financially motivated theft.

“This attractive and locally rare species has enough problems to contend with whilst breeding, without this criminal action.

“The dark ages of egg theft are still with us, threatening our local wildlife heritage.”

Mark Thomas, senior investigations officer for the RSPB, said: “Little terns are placed within the top five birds for which egg collecting has a serious impact.

“A robbery of this scale is highly significant at both regional and national level.”

After the theft, some of the birds flew to another breeding ground on the Humber, but enough remained to lay eggs and ensure the future of the nest site.

Stealing wild bird eggs is illegal and carries a maximum six-month custodial sentence and/or a £5,000 fine. The little tern theft is particularly serious because of the vulnerability of the species.

Anyone with information about the crime should call Durham Police on 101 and quote incident number DHM19/06/2013-0202.

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.