A "cruel" Dartford woman who illegally trapped ten wild goldfinches in her home has been banned from keeping birds.

Police officers executed a warrant at the individual’s Greenhithe address on April 8 following an RSPCA investigation, discovering the protected birds, which often die soon after being captured, locked away.

The woman, who is in her 50s, was summonsed to appear before magistrates on June 25 where she admitted unlawfully possessing the birds and an animal welfare offence.

She was banned from keeping birds for 6 months, issued with a 24-month conditional discharge and further ordered to pay £282 costs.

Sergeant Darren Walshaw of the Rural Task Force said: “The trapping, possession and sale of wild birds is not only illegal, it is cruel.

“Unfortunately, there is a ready market for wild birds but we remain committed to working with the RSPCA and RSPB to support them when they investigate such offences.”

RSPCA Inspector Clive Hopwood said: "The illegal trapping and trading in wild birds has long been a problem.

“Taking a wild bird from its natural habitat and shutting it in a tiny cage is cruel.

"Sadly, there is a market for trapped wild finches and people can make a profit out of this cruel practice.

“These birds can suffer immeasurably, not only physically but also mentally, and they often die shortly after being captured.”