A SCOTTISH man has been ordered to pay thousands of pounds in fines after pleading guilty to illegally selling chicks of the fastest bird on earth.

Gary MacFarlane from Blackridge in West Lothian has to pay more than £7000 after admitting to advertising and selling peregrine falcon chicks without the required legal documentation.

Peregrine falcons, a species that is native to Scotland, can reach speeds of 242mph when in a diving stoop. They are a protected species, but they are not considered endangered.

MacFarlane, 61, pleaded guilty to advertising and selling peregrine falcon chicks without the required legal documentation under the Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations 2018.

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He appeared at Livingston Sheriff Court for sentencing on Thursday, February 1, and was fined £2100.

MacFarlane previously pleaded guilty to 11 charges at a hearing at Livingston Sheriff Court on October 26, 2023.

The 61-year-old was ordered to forfeit £5220 in cash which had been seized from his home address.

The charges included four counts of advertising and selling peregrine falcons without Article 10 certificates being issued, which is a requirement under the legislation for selling such protected species.

He also admitted seven counts of making false declarations in terms of the parent lineage of the chicks.

Detective Constable Steven Irvine, of the National Wildlife Crime Unit, said: “This case sends a strong message to those who flout regulations in terms of our endangered and protected species that Police Scotland will thoroughly investigate these crimes and bring those responsible to justice.

“Gary MacFarlane sold protected chicks for his own profit and under false pretences which led to an extensive police investigation involving significant support from partner organisations including the SSPCA, the Scottish Government’s SASA forensic unit, the Animal Plant Health Agency, the National Wildlife Crime Unit, and raptor specialists.

“Members of the public have a vital role to play in tackling wildlife crime and I would encourage anyone with information or concerns about this type of criminality to contact Police Scotland on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”