Parrot breeder wins battle for evidence

"Parrot breeder wins battle for evidence". A report published in the Northern Echo , a British regional newspaper, on 8th June 2002.

A parrot breeder fighting to get more than 140 birds - some of them on the endangered species list - back into his aviary has been given more time to produce evidence.

Harry Sissen spent three days locked in battle with Customs and Excise at a civil hearing at Harrogate Magistrates’ Court, North Yorkshire, before being granted extra time.

He is trying to recover birds he says have a value of £100,000. They were seized in raids on his Cornhill Farm, at East Cowton, near Northallerton, which resulted in him being sentenced to 30 months in prison for smuggling, a term which was reduced to 18 months on appeal.

Customs officers are seeking a Condemnation Order under the Customs and Excise Management Act, which would mean that the birds would stay in zoos and bird gardens across the country.

Yesterday, on the third day of the hearing and after spending more than seven hours in the witness box, Mr Sissen, 63, told District Judge Ronnie Anderson he could prove that birds were bred by him and not imported illegally.

"DNA fingerprinting came back 100 per cent in my favour," Mr Sissen said.

He claimed to have copies of genetic fingerprinting certificates showing that 99 of the birds were bred by him.

"Customs are saying I have been negotiating to buy more birds and bring them into the country," he said.

Nobody has ever seen me bring birds in and the DNA proves I didn’t."

The hearing will be reconvened on June 24, so that the certificates can form part of the evidence.

Latest News

  • Wednesday 4th October 2023
    Good news from Brazil about the Hyacinthine macaws in the Pantanal

    I have just received the October 2023 issue of the Parrot Society UK magazine. It contained a short article by Rosemary Low about the Hyacinthine macaws in the Pantanal. Neiva Guedes, President of the Instituto Arara Azul, had reported to her "The ... Read More »


 " 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)