THE owner of Selborne Brickworks, John De Benham-Crosswell, 81, of South Hay Lane, Kingsley, admitted at Basingstoke Magistrates Court, to damaging or destroying a breeding site or resting place of a wild animal of a European-protected species.

The court heard on September 23 that work was carried out at the brickworks, in Honey Lane, between July 1, 2015, and April 12, 2016, which damaged the habitat of great-crested newts, including the draining of a lake containing the newts. Work on a site with a protected species must be carried out in accordance with a licence from Natural England. There was no valid licence in place.

Col De Benham-Crosswell was fined £1,165, and ordered to pay costs of £85 and a surcharge of £117 to fund victim services. Country Watch officer Pc Lynn Owen said: “This case sends out a strong message that we will take action against anyone contravening wildlife regulations. These safeguards are in place to protect specific species and it is crucial that land owners and businesses check the regulations before carrying out any work.”