Customs kidnapped birds

Customs "kidnapped" birds

Harry Sissen has told the court in Harrogate that his treatment was in breach of the Human Rights Act.

He said his birds had been effectively "kidnapped’ by Customs, who had lodged them in collections around the UK, including some with witnesses at his trial.

He claimed some had died of neglect and others had become infected with a virus, which meant they were now useless for breeding.

The 144 birds confiscated by Customs in two raids on the family farm in 1998, valued by Harry at over £100,000, were placed mainly with zoos and bird gardens across Britain.

Around 40 have since died, among them hyacinth macaws, red-vented 1 cockatoos, Buffon’s macaws, thick-billed parrots, and Goliath palm and triton cockatoos.

In April 2000, Harry Sissen was jailed for two and a half years and ordered to pay £5,000 costs for illegally importing three Lear’s macaws and six blue-headed macaws. Later, his sentence was reduced to 18 months on appeal.

He still must find £150,000 following last November’s condemnation hearing at Teesside Crown Court, at which he was given nine months to raise the money or face being sent back to prison.

The judge’s decision on the latest civil hearing will be given in August or September.

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 " Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret "

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

Horace (65-8 BC)