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Obsessive rare egg thief is jailed again

Britain's most imprisoned egg collector was jailed again yesterday after he admitted stealing hundreds of rare birds' eggs, including those of golden eagles.

Matthew Gonshaw, 49, from Bow in east London, appeared at Thames magistrates' court where he pleaded guilty to 10 charges including the theft and possession of rare eggs.

Gonshaw, who has been jailed on three previous occasions for similar offences, was handed a six-month prison sentence.

Mark Thomas, a RSPB investigations officer, said: "It is clear that Gonshaw's obsession drives him to target the rarest birds in Britain."

When Gonshaw's home was raided by police they found 700 eggs, including those of some of the rarest and most threatened birds in the UK. The collector's offences included taking five golden eagle eggs from nests in Lewis, Scotland, and 12 avocet eggs from a nesting site on Two Tree Island in Essex. He was also charged with the possession of eight osprey, three peregrine and three red kite eggs.