Egg thief Mat Gonshaw barred from going near a bird’s nest for 10 years

Serial egg thief Matthew Gonshaw has become the first person in the country to receive an antisocial order for crimes against nature, which also bans him from travelling to Scotland during the bird-breeding season.

The 49-year-old who kept his collection of 700 rare eggs hidden in his home at Mile End in East London is already serving jail time, after being sentenced to 12 months in December by Thames magistrates for stealing rare eggs.

But he was brought back from prison last Friday to be served the banning order by a district judge at Stratford which prevents him leaving England for the purpose of travelling to Scotland during the breeding season from February to August 31.

The 10-year order also prohibits Gonshaw going anywhere near a bird’s nest, carrying equipment for stealing eggs, having a display cabinet to keep them in, or entering any RSPB or Wild Life Trust site in the UK.

The RSPB’s Mark Thomas said: “Gonshaw has become a serial menace targeting our rarest birds such as avocets, red kites and peregrine falcons.

“He has plundered hundreds of nests over a decade for a selfish desire to add to his collection, which he kept locked away and wasn’t able to show to anyone.”

Gonshaw could face up to five years in prison and be slapped with a �20,000 fine if he breaches the order in the next 10 years.

Most Read

The RSPB spokesman added: “He must surely realise that it’s now time to give it up and leave the birds alone.”

Police gathered evidence from conservationists up and down the country showing Gonshaw’s actions “caused harassment, alarm and distress to people.”

Pc Steve Rogers, the Met’s wildlife officer for Tower Hamlets, said after the hearing: “He pierced two holes in each egg to blow them hollow of any organic material, killing the embryo inside.

“Yet there was no monetary gain for him—he kept all the eggs locked away.”

Gonshaw is serving his fourth prison sentence for poaching and holds the dubious record in Britain for spending the most time in jail for crimes against nature.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter