Man guilty of capturing and killing rare butterflies


Phillip Cullen (57) was found guilty yesterday at Bristol Magistrates Court of capturing and killing one of the UK's rarest butterflies.

Mr Cullen was charged with not only capturing the rare blue butterflies, but also the killing, before mounting them for display.

The case is the first to be brought before a court since the legislation was introduced in 1980.

The Large Blue is a species of butterfly in the Lycaenidae family. The species was first defined in 1758 and first discovered in Britain in 1795. In 1979 the species became extinct in Britain but has been successfully reintroduced with new conservation methods. Currently Large Blue is classified as "near threatened".

CPS South West Senior Crown Prosecutor Jonathan Richards said: “This is the first successful prosecution of capturing and killing Large Blue butterflies in England and Wales. This butterfly became extinct in the UK during 1979 and it took much cost, time and care to reintroduce it from Scandinavia. The legislation is not merely there to protect the species but also to ensure its conservation. Hopefully this prosecution and conviction will deter other would-be or current collectors from putting this species back at risk of extinction.”

Phillip Cullen will be sentenced on 7th April at Bristol Magistrates' Court.