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Collector's illegal hoard of 5,000 eggs is helping Natural History Museum experts study evolution

PUBLISHED: 13:51 16 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:33 16 September 2019

Eggs from the collection of Daniel Lingham (52)- charged with seven offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Collected in Norfolk.
For :EDP
Copyright Archant Norfolk.

Eggs from the collection of Daniel Lingham (52)- charged with seven offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Collected in Norfolk. For :EDP Copyright Archant Norfolk.

A clutch of thousands of rare birds eggs seized from an illegal Norfolk collector are set to help with research into the evolution of birds after being donated to a national museum.

Daniel Lingham arrives for his appearance at Norwich magistrates' court for collecting wild birds' eggs.
Photo: Bill Smith
Copy: Rachel Buller
For: EDP news
Archant © 2005
(01603) 772434Daniel Lingham arrives for his appearance at Norwich magistrates' court for collecting wild birds' eggs. Photo: Bill Smith Copy: Rachel Buller For: EDP news Archant © 2005 (01603) 772434

Daniel Lingham, 65, was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment in November last year after more than 5,000 eggs were found at his home in Newton St Faith.

He was also ordered to hand his entire collection of eggs to the Natural History Museum - where they are now set to provide researchers with insights into how egg shapes and sizes have evolved over time.

A researcher from the museum told BBC Radio Norfolk: "We're about to use these three clutches of lapwing eggs in a major study on the evolution of egg shape and size.

"One of the things that the team is most interested in is the changes over time."

Detective Constable Jerry Simpson, of Norwich Police pictured with eggs from the collection of Daniel Lingham (52)- charged with seven offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
For :EDP
Copyright Archant Norfolk.Detective Constable Jerry Simpson, of Norwich Police pictured with eggs from the collection of Daniel Lingham (52)- charged with seven offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. For :EDP Copyright Archant Norfolk.

READ MORE: Man jailed and told to give his collection of 5,000 rare bird eggs to Natural History Museum

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At a sentencing hearing at Norwich Magistrates Court in November, chairman of the bench, Darren Gilkes, heard Lingham, of Newton Park Homes, was described as a "one man crimer wave" and told officers who stop-searched him on May 21, 2018, at Cawston Heath in north Norfolk: "I've been a silly man, haven't I?"

Officers later found 5,266 eggs throughout his home, from species including nightingales, nightjars, turtle doves, chiffchaffs, little-ringed plovers, woodlarks and kingfishers, which had been taken from 134 different locations, including in Norfolk.

Daniel Lingham. Photo: Norfolk PoliceDaniel Lingham. Photo: Norfolk Police

He previously admitted five offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

53 of the eggs were protected under schedule one of the act, meaning that "these species are in decline".

The court had heard Lingham was convicted of similar offences in 2005 when he was jailed for 12 weeks for illegally collecting 3,603 eggs.

He pleaded guilty to taking nine linnet eggs at Cawston Heath on May 21 and possession of articles capable of being used to commit an offence - climbing spikes, binoculars and padded containers.

Lingham was also made subject of a 10-year criminal behaviour order (CBO).

READ MORE: Man jailed and told to give his collection of 5,000 rare bird eggs to Natural History Museum

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