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A man in the UK has been jailed for two months for deliberately killing an animal for allegedly his fish.

The man identified as Stuart Karl John Jones, shot the Eurasian otter in the head with a rifle in July last year, after the otter ate his valuable carp that was worth up to £40,000 each.

He was sentenced after pleading guilty to deliberately killing a wild animal of a European protected species, namely a Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), contrary to the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

He also pleaded guilty to an offence of using a trap for the purpose of killing, taking or restraining a wild animal listed on Schedule 6 contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Prosecutor Victoria Hill told the court a group of people witnessed the incident after visiting the lake between July 7 and July 11 last year.

They had been staying at a campsite on one of Jones’ lakes when they saw a fisherman catch the otter in a net and shout for somebody to fetch Jones, with Ms Hill explaining: ‘They thought it was being caught to be relocated.’

The prosecutor continued:

But when the defendant arrived with his wife and daughter he was carrying a rifle. He pulled the bolt back on the rifle, put it to the back of the otter’s head and pulled the trigger. The otter seemed to thrash a few times and then it was deceased.

If people were to behave in the way this defendant has, the impact on the otter population as a whole would be devastating. That’s why they are a protected species.

You’re breaking the law if you: capture, kill, disturb or injure otters; damage or destroy a breeding or resting place; obstruct access to their resting places; or possess, sell, control or transport live or dead otters.

Anybody found guilty of the above faces an unlimited fine and up to six months in prison, however Jones’ case is the first prosecution of its kind in the UK.

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