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Business owner fined for wildlife offences

News   •   Dec 05, 2018 16:18 GMT

A business owner has been fined for the second time for damaging the habitat of a protected species.

John De Benham-Crosswell, aged 83, of South Hay Lane, Bordon pleaded guilty at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court on 4 December to damaging or destroying a breeding site or resting place of a great crested newt. 

The offence took place between 24 September 2016 and 30 November 2017 at the Selborne Brickworks site in Honey Lane, Alton, which is owned by De Benham-Crosswell.

Work on any site containing a protected species would need to be carried out in accordance with a licence from Natural England. There was no valid licence in place when the work on this land was carried out.

De Benham-Crosswell was fined £1,200, and ordered to pay £85 costs and a victim surcharge of £120. He was fined in October 2016 for similar offences.

Hampshire Constabulary’s Country Watch team worked closely with Natural England, the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, Hampshire County Council and specialist prosecutors to bring this case to court.

Country Watch officer PC Lynn Owen said:

“This case shows that we will work with our partners to take action against anyone contravening wildlife regulations.

“These safeguards are in place to protect specific species and it is so important that land owners and businesses check the regulations before carrying out any work.”

Jim Foster, Conservation Director at the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, said:

“Sadly we are losing great crested newt populations across the country through habitat damage, even though this is illegal.

“It is good to see the law being upheld in this case thanks to the determined action of Hampshire Constabulary.”