A university academic and wildlife specialist was convicted of criminal damage after breaking the window of a derelict shop in a bid to free trapped pigeons.Yup, you heard that right – pigeons. The winged rats of the modern city.
He received a call on January 29 from a woman who said pigeons had been trapped inside an abandoned shop in Southend High Street for about five days.
Costello, 69, of Lewisham, travelled to the shop, which is owned by Levar Commerical Finance Limited. He took out tools to break a back window, but was spotted by a woman who phoned police.
He was arrested before he could free the birds.Sterling job by Essex Police there, and I don’t often say that. Pity they didn’t taser the old fool too.
He got a six-month conditional discharge. But of course, he rejects that, wrapping himself in the cloak of self-righteousness as he does so.
Costello told the court that at the time of the incident he believed he had a duty to free the birds under section four of the Animal Welfare Act.The magistrates clearly decided that was bunk. But fret not for the feathered vermin:
The court heard that a day later the building’s owners contacted the RSPCA to free the pigeons.Which is what he should have done, rather than play vigilante.
He said: “I have been rescuing animals for about 40 years. “I was told the animals had been there for about five days.
“Usually, birds will die about this time if they do not have access to food and water. The way I see it, it is like seeing a dog at the point of death, trapped in a hot car on a summer’s day, and breaking the window to save its life.
“I don’t think I should have been prosecuted.”Except they hardly were ‘at the point of death’, were they? So it’s totally unlike the situation you describe.
Costello carries a large trolley with him that contains a bird rescue kit, including a cardboard pet carrier and a net, in case he is called to an emergency.
He added: “I consider it a matter of duty for us to help distressed animals.
“I don’t necessarily consider this my life’s work, but I can’t just pass by when I see an animal suffering.”No-one’s asking you to ‘pass on by’. Merely to obey the law.