A window cleaner destroyed two housemartin nests a family had been watching being built at their home in Park View, Buckden.

When Martin Rigby, 59, was challenged by the householder, he said “everyone wanted them removing,” thinking they were old or the previous year’s nests.

Rigby, of Applegarth, Barnoldswick, who pleaded guilty to damaging/destroying a nest while it was in use, contrary to schedule one of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, was fined £85 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge by Skipton magistrates.

The court heard the family had been watching the housemartins, which had nests on the first floor of the house, for several weeks before they were destroyed.

Rigby was interviewed by a North Yorkshire Police wildlife crime officer and said he had been aware that nests were on both windows for several months but thought they were old and decided to remove them.

He was not aware housemartins were protected and he had not sought guidance before removing them.

Magistrates were presented with testimonials in which people vouched for his caring nature and were told that on this occasion he had made a genuine error which he deeply regretted.