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Date set for Lakes farmer osprey conviction appeal hearing

The osprey pair with their young from 2017, at the Bassenthwaite Lake nest. Credit The Lake District Osprey Project.

A FARMER convicted of recklessly disturbing a pair of breeding ospreys in the Lake District will have his appeal against the conviction heard in the new year.

Paul Barnes, 59, was found guilty of two charges following a magistrates’ court trial at Workington in August.

Barnes was said to have used his tractor to tow a trailer of people into the field close to the osprey nesting site near Bassenthwaite Lake, Keswick, in June last year.

As a result of the disturbance, the court heard, the two adult birds were scared from their nest.

Barnes was convicted of two charges brought under the Country and Wildlife Act 1981. He was ordered to pay a £300 fine, plus £2,000 costs.

However, he has since lodged an appeal against that conviction. And he was present at Carlisle Crown Court today when a date for that appeal was fixed.

Judge James Adkin told Barnes that the hearing – estimated to last three days in front of a judge sitting with magistrates – is due to start at the crown court on January 23 next year.

The birds or prey returned to the Lake District in 2001 after an absence of 150 years. They have since become a major tourist attraction.

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