A MAN has been fined more than £8,000 for killing young geese in Ryedale.

Raymond William Twiddle, 83, of West Knapton, near Malton, pleaded guilty to intentionally killing three greylag geese at Scarborough Magistrates Court on Monday.

A member of the public called North Yorkshire Police on April 24, to report seeing a man killing gosling chicks with a spade and then burying them.

Officers with specialist wildlife crime expertise attended the scene in West Knapton, and found two greylag gosling chicks buried in a disturbed mole hill, and a further one in long grass. Post mortem examination by a vet confirmed blunt trauma as the cause of death.

Greylag geese are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. They are amber listed and are of conservation concern in the UK.

Twiddle was fined £8,100, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £170 and £85 prosecution costs.

PC Nick Coning, who led the investigation, said: "We worked closely with the RSPCA, RSPB and CPS to secure a conviction in this case. The persecution of wild birds is unacceptable. We treat all forms of wildlife crime in North Yorkshire extremely seriously, and we will deal with it professionally and thoroughly."

Wildlife crime officer PC Graham Bilton said: "The actions of the person involved not only resulted in the death of the young goslings but also caused a great deal of stress to the parent birds, who were still present when we arrived. The public need to be aware that anyone committing rural and wildlife crime will be robustly dealt with, and the incident again highlights the essential and continual hard work of wildlife crime officers."

Sally Robinson from the CPS said: "This was a sickening and barbaric act. We were able to work with our partner agencies to build a robust case to put before the court. The severity of the penalty imposed in this case is a clear indication that such acts of wilful cruelty will be punished with the full force of the law."