Commercial operation

Commercial operation

Customs & Excise claimed he ran a massive commercial operation to breed from smuggled birds.

The court heard he had brought birds into the country under a coat and in hidden compartments in his car in the 1970s and 80s, and had not kept records of where his parrots came from.

The judge said "There was never any proper inventory of birds acquired, birds sold, birds bred and birds dead."

Substantial amounts of cash were found at Sissen’s farm but the judge described the defendant’s income declared in accounts as "derisory".

After the five-day confiscation hearing at Tees-side Crown Court, both parties had to wait for almost a week for the judgment at Newcastle Crown Court last Thursday.

Another hearing will now have to be held to decide how much Harry Sissen must pay after his assets have been taken into account and to decide what will happen to his birds.

Customs officers seized a total of 139 birds during two raids on Sissen’s farm at East Cowton, near Northallerton, North Yorkshire, in 1998.

The latest proceedings concerned 69 of the most valuable birds taken in the raids, including Military Macaws, Hawk-headed Parrots, Hyacinthine Macaws, Red-fronted Macaws, Blue-throated Macaws, Scarlet Macaws and Buffon’s Macaws.

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( If you drive out nature with a pitchfork, she will soon find a way back)

Horace (65-8 BC)