Wanstead wildlife poisoners jailed

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Terence Webb and Mark Page have been sentenced to four months imprisonment and fined £7,000 each for the theft and misuse of pesticide. If either man defaults on the fine then they will serve a further four months. The prosecutions were brought under the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986.

Pest readers will recall that the two men intentionally poisoned wildlife during their lunch breaks by leaving bread laced with pesticide at Alexandra Lake, Wanstead Flats in East London. During the hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court the court heard how their actions led to the deaths of 90 birds, including geese, moorhens, ducks and coot as well as the death of a pet dog. Both were employed as pest control officers by Newham Council at the time of the offences and both were fired following the investigation into the incident.crows. To read earlier Pest reports click here.

Terrence Webb, 28, from Ilford and Mark Page, 35 from Romford were sentenced on 18 October after pleading guilty to two counts of misuse of pesticides and two counts of theft of pesticides.

Jailing the pair, Judge Simon Wilkinson, said: “I am satisfied that on March 8 (this year) you both saw birds fall out of the trees and you realised just how toxic this pesticide was. What passes belief is that you should return the following day and do exactly the same thing.”

The risks to the public were initially deemed so serious by the authorities that the lake had to be cordoned off for more than three weeks whilst laboratory tests were conducted to identify the pesticide used. The investigation was conducted by the Metropolitan Police’s Wildlife Crime Unit working with officers from Natural England’s Wildlife Management Team.

PC David Flint of the Met’s Wildlife Crime Unit said: “These men showed a complete disregard for public safety with the indiscriminate use of dangerous chemicals. They derived personal amusement from the death of birds and caused the death of a pet dog.”


Wanstead men
Terrence Webb and Mark Page
© Ilford Recorder

Paul Butt, Senior Specialist with the Wildlife Management & Licensing Team of Natural England added: “The deliberate and reckless use of pesticides as occurred in this case is both illegal and irresponsible. The fact that this action was taken by trained professional pest controllers is of particular concern. The placing of toxic material in areas to which the public and animals have access poses a significant hazard to wildlife, domestic animals and could expose the public, particularly children, to the risks of being poisoned.

The prosecution dropped charges relating to the storing of pesticide and the theft of a sprayer. The remaining charges relating to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Protection of Animals Act 1911 were ordered to lie on file.

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