A cleaner Mr. John Stuczynski at Birmingham Airport has been rewarded by Dr Mark Avery, the RSPB’s Director of Conservation, for his part in catching a smuggler trying to take 14 Peregrine eggs via Birmingham Airport out of the country to the Middle East.
John spotted the man behaving suspiciously in the airport toilets and immediately alerted airport security officers and the man was arrested.
Mr. Jeffrey Lendrum was sentenced by Judge Christopher Hodson at Warwick Crown Court to 30 months in prison. Lendrum, 48, from York Close, Towcester, Northamptonshire, was found in possession of 14 peregrine falcon eggs wrapped in socks and strapped to his body when he was detained on 3 May at Birmingham International Airport . The 14 eggs had been stolen by Lendrum from four separate peregrine nests in South Wales. Investigators believe they were stolen to order for an Arab falconer in Dubai and were valued at £70,000 on the black market.
Footnote to this story –
We can now report the return of the peregrines into the wild was a combined effort by a number of dedicated people.
There are three extra heroes who each gave their assistance to bring this story to a happy and successful conclusion. The man who took care of the eggs after they had been seized by the Police at Birmingham airport. He is a falcon breeder but because of the short notice couldn’t find an automatic turning incubator [because it was breeding season] but managed to locate a manual machine.
He took three weeks off work and slept on his settee to turn the eggs every two hours, day and night. He then made the same commitment to feed the chicks after they had hatched. Additional help was then provided by a second falcon breeder who reared some of the young peregrines by putting some of the hatched chicks under one of his own brooding female falcons.
Without any doubt this exercise was a great effort by those two falcon breeders. They worked hard, at considerable expense, and without them the release back into the wild of all the chicks that hatched would not have been possible.
Mr Steve Downing also played a role in this successful operation. It was Steve who eventually collected the chicks from the two breeders and then transported them to Scotland where he placed them in suitable donor peregrine nests. In Steve’s own words:”placing the birds into safe nesting sites where they all successfully fledged was one of the most satisfying things I have ever done.”