POLICE seized an illegal trap used to catch wild birds.

The officers were called to a park in Wickford to deal with the large metal illegal device.

They have not revealed where the park is in the town.

A spokesman for Basildon Community Policing Team posted on Facebook: “Today, we have seized a device used in the illegal trapping of wild finches.

“This was located in the Wickford area.

“Please make us aware if you see any similar devices.

“Possession or control of a wild bird is an offence.

“Anybody possessing wild birds is obliged to show, on a balance of probabilities, that their possession is lawful.

“Finches listed on Part I Schedule 3 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 can only be legally sold if they have been bred in captivity from lawfully held parent birds, and if they are fitted with Government approved close-rings.”

A wildlife charity conservationist has blasted the illegal bird catchers.

Macbraden Bones, 48, Essex Wildlife Trust landscape conservationist area officer for the south east, said: “I have never heard or come across this before.

“This is the first time I have heard of this and have not seen a problem like this in our area.

“I am stunned by this, there are a number of concerns with this.

“Obviously firstly it is illegal to trap birds without a licence and they are clearly doing this without good reason. It’s totally immoral and some of these birds are endangered and this will cause them so much stress and it’s very inhumane.”

Mr Bones said he, and the trust, would never condone practice like this.

He said it is pretty shocking and praised the police for their swift action in seizing the illegal trap.

It also caused fury on social with residents reacting to the police’s warning on Facebook.

Megan Scott posted: “I had absolutely no idea this sort of cruelty went on in Wickford.”

Josie Gardener posted: “Well done - what horrid people to trap wild birds and keep them in captivity.

“I am shocked that anyone would want to do this sort of thing.

“Well done to the police - hopefully it puts an end to it.”