Two jailed for wildlife ‘slaughter’

Pest control officers ‘laid down poisoning as a prank’ and 90 wild birds and a woman’s pet Alsatian perished.

TWO pest control officers who killed a pensioner’s beloved pet dog and 90 wild birds with poison as a “prank” were both jailed for four months today.

Mark Page, 35, and Terrance Webb, 28, spent two lunch breaks laying down bread laced with the pesticide Ficam-W at a beauty spot on Wanstead Flats.

The pair wanted to see if the chemical - which they had stolen from their employer Newham Council - was capable of killing crows.

But Pamela Rowe’s Irish red setter-Alsatian cross Russet - described as the OAP’s “sole companion” - suffered violent convulsions and died just 20 minutes after eating the poison.

The corpses of around 90 birds including coots, moorhens, pigeons, crows and geese were later found strewn over Alexandra Lake by the park warden.

Jailing the pair, Judge Simon Wilkinson, said: “I am satisfied that on March 8 (this year) you both saw birds fall out of the trees and you realised just how toxic this pesticide was.

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“What passes belief is that you should return the following day and do exactly the same thing.

“As a direct result of your crimes, nearly 90 wild birds were killed.

“This slaughter took place at a lake to which the public had regular access.

Page and Webb were both also each fined �7,000 with four months imprisonment in default of payment.

Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Rowe, of Forest Gate, described their actions as “twisted and evil”, adding: “These were pest control officers employed in a responsible position.

“They were not ignorant teenagers.”

Earlier prosecutor Helen Owen said Page and Webb had bought bread and water from a Tesco store before mixing them with the pesticide to concoct the lethal poison

“They decided they were essentially going to play a prank,” said the barrister.

Robert Meikle, mitigating for Page, said the defendant had since split with his fiancee, lost his home and at age 35 was back living with his parents - all as a result of the publicity surrounding the case.

Page, of Bexleyheath, Kent, and Webb, of Rush Green, Romford, Essex, both admitted two counts of using a pesticide without approval and two counts of theft.