SIGNIFICANT SHORTS : Egg coleectors fined

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Three collectors of birds' eggs were fined a total of pounds 7,600 yesterday for illegal possession of rare specimens. They appeared before magistrates at Salisbury, Wilts, following a nationwide police and RSPB operation - codenamed Avocet - aimed at collectors and traders in rare breed eggs, which are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Geoffrey Peirson, 48, a property developer, was fined a total of pounds 5,000 with pounds 80 costs, while businessman Anthony Parkes, also 48, and scaffolder Michael Sloane, 36, were respectively fined totals of pounds 1,600 and pounds 1,000.

The court heard that when police raided Parkes's home last September, they found more than 10,000 eggs - one of the largest seizures in Britain. It has been illegal since 1954 to collect wild birds' eggs. All three defendants were members of the Jourdain Society - a respected charity body which studies eggs. A society meeting in Salisbury was raided by police in July, 1994. This gave rise to Operation Avocet, named after the rare bird on the logo of the RSPB.