71-Year-Old Egg Collecting ‘Addict’ Sentenced In England After Stealing Thousands Of Wild Bird Eggs

Published May 9, 2024

Daniel Lingham was previously convicted for illegal egg collecting in 2005 and 2018.

Daniel Lingham

Norfolk PoliceDaniel Lingham, 71, in a screenshot from police body cam footage during the raid of his home.

A Norfolk man has been sentenced for illegally “collecting” nearly 3,000 wild birds’ eggs.

Daniel Lingham, 71, was handed a suspended jail term and ordered to undergo a 12-month mental health treatment program after he was caught on wildlife camera stealing two nightjar eggs from a nature reserve in June 2023.

When police searched his home, they discovered that Lingham had been storing thousands of eggs at the property.

Daniel Lingham’s Massive Collection Of Wild Bird Eggs

In total, Lingham had amassed a collection of 2,995 eggs, of which 2,429 were protected by the U.K.’s Wildlife and Countryside Act, according to a statement from the Norfolk police.

Nightjar Eggs

Norfolk PoliceThe nightjar eggs stolen by Daniel Lingham in the summer of 2023.

Of these, 548 eggs came from birds on the amber list of birds of conservation concern, and another 546 were on the red list — of the most serious concern.

Even more eggs were found behind the bath panel in Lingham’s home, including a box labeled “Nightjar 2, Holt Lowes June 9” — the very eggs Lingham had been caught on camera nabbing. Alongside the collection of eggs, officers found books on identifying bird eggs, binoculars, and an egg blowing kit.

At a hearing in February, Lingham admitted to five offenses. But it wasn’t the first time he had gotten himself into trouble for poaching birds’ eggs.

Daniel Lingham’s Previous Egg-Stealing Offenses

Lingham had previously served two prison sentences related to illegal egg collecting in 2005 and 2018.

The BBC reported that when Lingham was caught in 2018, he was spotted dressed “head-to-toe in camouflage gear” picking eggs up from the ground. His defense attorney then and now, James Burrows, said Lingham was receiving psychological treatment and that he “almost has an addiction to collecting wild bird eggs.”

The prosecuting attorney in Lingham’s new case, Josephine Jones, reiterated that same sentiment, saying Lingham “could not help himself due to his addiction to collecting eggs,” according to the BBC.

Daniel Lingham Egg Collection

Norfolk PoliceJust a few of the thousands of eggs found in Daniel Lingham’s home.

In 2005, Lingham had been jailed for 10 weeks after police discovered nearly 4,000 eggs in his home. In 2018, he received an 18-week sentence and a 10-year Criminal Behavior Order for his collection of more than 5,000 eggs.

“It is disappointing that we were here again for a third time with Lingham again having taken whole clutches of eggs for his personal collection and having a huge negative impact on local wild bird populations,” said police constable Chris Shelley of the Op Randall Rural Crime Team.

Burrows, in Lingham’s defense, noted that Lingham has “an extensive history of some mental health issues” and that he has previously “expressed being addicted to egg collecting.”

“There’s no monetary gain in any of this,” Burrows said. “It’s that drive, that addiction that keeps people coming back unfortunately.”

Officers had hoped that the 2018 Criminal Behavior Order and mental health treatments would have put an end to Lingham’s rampant egg collecting. However, with just about four years left on the order, Lingham’s compulsion once again reared its head.

“It’s clear Lingham has a serious disregard for nature and the law, driven by his obsessive need to collect eggs,” said RSPB Investigations Officer Tom Grose.

“This latest hearing has taken into account his mental health issues, but we are concerned that the penalty given today may not effectively deter or prevent Lingham from committing these offences again and fear that we will see Lingham in court again.”

After reading about Daniel Lingham’s egg collecting addiction, learn about the strange delicacy, bird’s nest soup. Or, see our list of the nine creepiest bird species.

Austin Harvey
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Austin Harvey has also had work published with Discover Magazine, Giddy, and Lucid covering topics on mental health, sexual health, history, and sociology. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Point Park University.
Maggie Donahue
Maggie Donahue is an assistant editor at All That's Interesting. She has a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a Bachelor's degree in creative writing and film studies from Johns Hopkins University. Before landing at ATI, she covered arts and culture at The A.V. Club and Colorado Public Radio and also wrote for Longreads. She is interested in stories about scientific discoveries, pop culture, the weird corners of history, unexplained phenomena, nature, and the outdoors.
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Cite This Article
Harvey, Austin. "71-Year-Old Egg Collecting ‘Addict’ Sentenced In England After Stealing Thousands Of Wild Bird Eggs." AllThatsInteresting.com, May 9, 2024, https://allthatsinteresting.com/daniel-lingham. Accessed May 23, 2024.