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Leonard Devall of Kent Road, Snodland, pleads guilty to handling stolen birds in Pembury, Aylesford, Chatham and Deal

By Paul Hooper

Police officers who swooped on a house discovered an aviary full of stolen birds.

Now, bird-fancier Leonard Devall, 35, has admitted handling birds stolen from homes in Deal, Aylesford, Chatham and Pembury.

The showbirds – worth thousands of pounds – were taken from aviaries between January and March last year.

Leonard Devall has denied stealing more than 100 birds, worth thousands of pounds (5372951)
Leonard Devall has denied stealing more than 100 birds, worth thousands of pounds (5372951)

Devall appeared at Maidstone Crown Court and pleaded guilty to four charges of handling stolen birds.

He also admitted breaching the Wildlife and Countryside Act by having nine Goldfinches at his home in Kent Road, Snodland.

The birds, Siberian goldfinches, linnets, canaries and common redpolls, had been stolen in burglaries.

They belonged to owners Andrew Squair from Pembury, Janice Cheeseman from Aylesford, Neil Arnold from Chatham and Gareth Fowler from Deal.

Siberian Goldfinches, Linnets (pictured), Canaries and Common Redpolls, had been stolen in burglaries
Siberian Goldfinches, Linnets (pictured), Canaries and Common Redpolls, had been stolen in burglaries

Sentence was adjourned until April 3 for the preparation of a probation report and the Crown Prosecution Service is expected to ask the judge to issue a Criminal Behaviour Order.

Devall was remanded on bail until the next hearing.

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

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