Suspended sentence for killer of rare butterflies

10/04/2017

Phillip Cullen (57) who illegally captured and killed one of Britain’s rarest butterflies, the Large Blue was spared jail on Friday 7th April as he appeared at Bristol Magistrates Court for sentencing.

Phillip Cullen was caught after being spotted by volunteers and wardens, acting suspiciously at two nature reserves in the west of England; when challenged at one of the reserves, Phillip Cullen claimed he was interested in parasitic wasps and orchids.

Police who raided his home in near Bristol found a large number of mounted butterflies, including two large blues.

Mr Cullen was given a 6 month suspended jail sentence, suspended for 2 years and ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work for capturing the endangered butterflies at two protected sites.

He was also given a five-year criminal behaviour order banning him from three nature reserves where the large blue is found. Display cases taken from his home which contained butterflies will be given to a museum.

Magistrate Susan Helfer, chair of the bench said “We have decided these offences are so serious that they cross the custody threshold. “These offences were deliberate and planned, and were committed in the knowledge that you were capturing and killing an endangered species and the risk of that butterfly becoming extinct in this country.”