Egg collector ‘addict’ caught stealing 3,000 bird eggs in England

Daniel Lingham was previously convicted of illegal egg collection in 2005 and 2018.

Daniel Lingham

Norfolk PoliceDaniel Lingham, 71, in a screenshot from a police camera during the search of his home.

A Norfolk man has been convicted of illegally “collecting” almost 3,000 wild bird eggs.

Daniel Lingham, 71, was given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to complete a 12-month mental health treatment program after he was filmed on a wildlife camera stealing two nightjar eggs from a nature reserve in June 2023.

When police searched his home, they discovered Lingham was storing thousands of eggs on the property.

Daniel Lingham’s huge collection of wild bird eggs

In total, Lingham had amassed a collection of 2,995 eggs, of which 2,429 were protected under the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act, according to a Norfolk Police statement.

Nightjar eggsNightjar eggs

Norfolk PoliceNightjar eggs stolen by Daniel Lingham in the summer of 2023.

Of these, 548 eggs were from birds on the Amber List of Birds of Conservation Concern, and a further 546 were on the Red List – the most concern.

Even more eggs were found behind the bath panel in Lingham’s house, including a box labeled “Nightjar 2, Holt Lowes June 9” — the very eggs Lingham had been filmed catching. Along with the egg collection, officers found books on bird egg identification, binoculars and an egg blowing kit.

At a hearing in February, Lingham admitted five offences. But this wasn’t the first time he got into trouble for poaching bird eggs.

Daniel Lingham’s previous egg theft offenses

Lingham previously served two prison sentences related to illegal egg collecting in 2005 and 2018.

The BBC reported that when Lingham was captured in 2018, he was seen dressed “head to toe in camouflage” collecting eggs from the ground. His lawyer then and now, James Burrows, said Lingham was undergoing psychological treatment and “had an almost addiction to collecting wild bird eggs.”

The prosecutor in Lingham’s new case, Josephine Jones, reiterated that same sentiment, saying Lingham “couldn’t help it because of his addiction to egg collecting,” according to the BBC.

Daniel Lingham Egg CollectionDaniel Lingham Egg Collection

Norfolk PoliceSome of the thousands of eggs found in Daniel Lingham’s home.

In 2005, Lingham was jailed for 10 weeks after police discovered almost 4,000 eggs in his home. In 2018 he was given an 18-week sentence and a 10-year criminal behavior order for his collection of more than 5,000 eggs.

“It is disappointing that we are here again for the third time when Lingham has once again taken entire clutches of eggs for his personal collection and has had a huge negative impact on local wild bird populations,” he said. said Police Constable Chris Shelley of Op Randall Rural Crime. Team.

Burrows, in Lingham’s defense, noted that Lingham had “an extensive history of mental health issues” and had previously “expressed his addiction to egg collection.”

“There is no monetary gain in any of this,” Burrows said. “It’s this motivation, this dependence that unfortunately keeps people coming back.”

Officers had hoped the 2018 Criminal Behavior and Mental Health Treatment Ordinance would have put an end to Lingham’s rampant egg collecting. However, with only about four years left, Lingham’s strain reared its ugly head again.

“It is clear that Lingham has a serious disregard for nature and the law, driven by his obsessive need to collect eggs,” said RSPB investigations manager Tom Grose.

“This latest hearing took into account his mental health issues, but we are concerned that the sentence imposed today will not effectively deter or prevent Lingham from committing these offenses again and we fear seeing Lingham back in court.”

After reading the story of Daniel Lingham’s addiction to egg collecting, discover the strange delicacy that is bird’s nest soup. Or check out our list of the nine scariest bird species.