HE just wanted to boost his glass cabinet collection.
But when his hobby of collecting birds eggs, became an obsession, Terrence Potter turned to stealing them from nests.
Officers discovered 1,000 eggs during a raid on his Upper Cumberworth home.
A total of 548 were held illegally, including 170 eggs swiped from nests.
Potter, 55, appeared before Kirklees magistrates yesterday.
He admitted six charges of taking eggs belonging to wild birds and two of possession of eggs.
Potter, of Carr Hill Road, also pleaded guilty to charges of possession of egg blowing equipment and failing to comply with conditions of a shotgun certificate.
The eggs were uncovered during a search of the HGV driver’s home by police and RSPB officers on June 22.
Andrew Dinning, prosecuting, said: “Officers found a large number of birds eggs.
“There were two glass cabinets containing eggs, a number of loose eggs and an egg blowing kit of needles and other paraphernalia.
“The eggs had been blown, the insides had been taken out with a small hole put in.”
Magistrates heard that Potter also had a shotgun cabinet which had illegally been left insecure.
The eggs were identified with the help of Potter, who spent four hours naming them for police.
His haul contained eggs from 39 different species.
These included a number of eggs belonging to birds of prey such as owls, kestrels and a sparrow hawk.
Eggs snatched by Potter included eggs from curlews, a black-headed gull, a shag, a wheatear and a tree sparrow.
The eggs were taken from birds living in beauty spots in Woodhead, Flamborough Head, Holmfirth and Broadstones.
Mr Dinning said that Potter initially tried to explain away his collection.
He said: “He very quickly fell on his sword. It became clear that these weren’t old eggs and he had no papers to support that they had been bought legitimately.
“He said that they came from the 2012 season.”
Magistrates gave Potter a conditional discharge for two years and told him to pay £85 costs.
They ordered the forfeiture of the eggs, which will be used for future research to help the species.
Andy McWilliam, investigative support officer for the national wildlife crime unit, said of the decision: “I think it’s fair, he’s been fully compliant with our investigation throughout.
“He’s had a change in lifestyle and became obsessed with eggs.
“He bought two cabinets and, as they filled up with his collection, he liked the look and that gave him the bug.
“He’s been taking eggs from nests within the last two years.
“He had an old collection and just tried to add to it.
“This (the sentence) will be hanging over him and if he puts his hand in a nest for the next two years he will be punished.”