Four rare bird eggs stolen from Cavenham Heath nature reserve

Cavenham Heath.

Cavenham Heath. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Police are investigating the theft of four rare bird eggs from a popular Suffolk nature reserve.

Cavenham Heath. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Cavenham Heath. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

The theft of four stone curlew eggs from a nesting site at Cavenham Heath nature reserve, near Mildenhall, took place sometime between Friday, May 4, and Wednesday, May 9.

Chris Hainsworth, Natural England senior reserve manager, said he was “shocked and saddened” by the incident.

“The stone curlew is a very rare bird with fewer than 400 pairs in the country,” he said.

“Only 30 years ago we nearly lost them from the English countryside altogether and it is only by the hard work of local farmers and landowners supported by Natural England and RSPB that we have managed to start to see the population slowly rise.

“We are shocked and saddened by the theft of these eggs. We will continue to support Suffolk police in their investigation.”

Sgt Brian Calver, of Suffolk police, said: “These are a schedule one bird, which receive a high level of protection, to include their nesting sites.

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“They are a reasonably rare summer visitor, with very few sites around the UK, owing to the specific needs surrounding their habitat.

“The eggs have previously been measured and photographed, so if anybody has any knowledge as to who may have taken them, we can easily identify them, owing to the measurements and very detailed individual markings.

“Egg collecting is nowhere near as common as it used to be but sadly still goes on. It’s not a victimless crime, as rare populations can be adversely affected by the actions of these individuals.

“The nesting sites are naturally quite remote so we would urge those out and about on such reserves to be vigilant for suspicious activity and report any sightings to police, with detailed descriptions of persons and vehicles.

“If anybody sees somebody stealing eggs they should call 999 as this is a crime in progress.

“I would also urge dog owners to ensure they keep their dogs on leads around such areas also, as these can cause disturbance and damage, with many otherwise law abiding dog owners not realising the damage their pets may be causing.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting reference 37/25360/18.