The former power station worker travelled the country in search of additions to his collection. He is believed to have specialised in the eggs of birds of prey and rare crows. The height of his infamy was when he travelled to Loch Garten in Scotland and took a chainsaw to a tree that contained the nest and probably the eggs of an osprey.
After a raid on his home in 1985, the RSPB found more than 2,200 eggs in his house and in that of his disabled son. Specimens included golden eagle, osprey, sparrowhawk and red kite. The society confiscated most of them.
Brought before Selby magistrates in April 1985, charged with illegally possessing the collection, Watson claimed that all but 16 of his eggs had been collected before the introduction of the 1981 Act that banned the practice.
He was still found guilty and fined £1,700 after the court doubted whether the data cards he produced listing the date and place of each egg’s collection were genuine. He successfully appealed, but did not get his collection back.
Graham Madge, of the RSPB, said: “He was more than a little bit of a nuisance to us. He had been an active collector for many years. There are a number of very eager egg collectors and he was one of them; they target the nests of some of the most rare breeding birds and steal their eggs. This is a tragic incident and we would not have wanted him to end his career in such a terrible way.”
South Yorkshire Police said that there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the fall. The coroner has been informed and an inquest will be held.
1980, Inverness Taking golden eagle eggs. Fined £400
1982, Shap Disturbance of peregrine falcons. Fined £250
1985, Selby Possession of eggs. Fined £1,700
1988, Perth Possesion of equipment capable of committing an offence and attempting to take golden eagle eggs. Fined £2,000
1990, Lerwick Possession of equipment capable of committing an offence and possession of two snipe eggs. Fined £1,300