Burglar caught by Springwatch presenter's garden 'fox cam'

Burglar caught by Springwatch presenter's 'fox cam'

A burglar who was caught on a camera set up by BBC Springwatch presenter Simon King to film urban foxes in a London garden has been jailed.

Nigel Batton, 43, was filmed climbing over a garden fence by a camera installed by Mr King in a property in Holligbourne Road, in Herne Hill, south London.

The footage was actually being streamed on Mr King's website, simonkingwildlife.com, and was filmed by the 'Fox Family Cam'.

Mr King wrote on his website of the Fox Family Cam: "The fox family we are following with our live cameras are red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) living in the heart of England's capital city – London.

"We are incredibly lucky to have access to the home owner's remarkable records of the individual foxes that have visited her garden that date back over many years."

Batton was arrested after being identified in the footage after the incident, which occurred in January 2014.

The footage caught Batton apparently on his way to a burglary at another address on the same street, owned by Daniel McFarlane.

McFarlane interrupted Batton's burglary attempt after an intruder alarm was set off, and he fled without any stolen goods, leaving a woolly hat, black scarf and some screwdrivers.

According to the Daily Mail, Dominic Bush, prosecuting, said: "By sheer coincidence, a nearby property had some cameras set up in the back garden.

"They were there to record wildlife, night-time wildlife. The owner of the property thought there was a good chance she might have caught the burglar on the camera.

"Sure enough, it turns out that at 3.46am in the morning the cameras could see the burglar coming over her fence.

"The burglar has then gone from her garden to the neighbouring property on Hollingbourne Road, where he has left a hat and scarf."

The footage has been viewed on YouTube over 22,000 times. One user commented: "David Attenborough: Here the burglar, a shy creature mostly found in urban habitats, can be seen carefully, quietly, stalking its territory in search for that rare time an opportune moment arrives."

Another said: "I hope this footage was handed to police and this idiot gets caught!"

Which is exactly what happened.

On Monday, Batton was convicted of one count of burglary and one count of attempted robbery at Woolwich Crown Court, and was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

According to the Evening Standard, Detective Constable Marie Hamilton, from Southwark police, said: "The images from the Fox family camera were brilliant and together with the forensics we have been able to ensure that Batton has been brought to justice."

Animal islands
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Burglar caught by Springwatch presenter's garden 'fox cam'
Pig Beach, or Pig Island, is an uninhabited island in Exuma, the Bahamas, famed for its many swimming pigs. They are said to have been dropped off on the island by sailors who wanted to return to cook and eat them, but never returned. Others say the pigs survived a shipwreck and managed to swim to the island. Today, the pigs are fed by tourists who visit the island to meet its unexpected residents.

Okunoshima Island, in Japan, attracts tourists to witness its huge rabbit population that has taken over the island, with many people visiting to feed the animals. The island, often called Usagi Jima or Rabbit Island, was used as a poison gas facility in World War II. The rabbits were intentionally set loose after the war when the island was developed as a park.

The jungles of Guam have up to 40 times more spiders than the forested areas of the nearby Pacific Islands thanks to the invasive brown snakes that wiped out 10 of the 12 spider-eating bird species. Because the birds ate some of the insects that spiders eat, there is also now more food for the spiders to eat. One of the most common types of spider in the jungle is the yellow and black Banana Spider.

The wild horses on the Assateague Island in Maryland are actually feral but tough enough to survive the scorching heat, stormy weather and poor quality food found on the remote barrier island. Local folklore says they are survivors of a shipwreck off the coast of Virginia. Assateague is one of the few places in America where you can view wild horses and visitors are advised to admire the animals from a distance.

Located just a few kilometres off the northern beaches of False Bay, near Cape Town, Seal Island is home to approximately 65,000 Cape Fur Seals. The island is a popular feeding ground for the great white shark and lucky visitors may see the fish breaching in pursuit of its prey. Seal Island is like a sea of brown bodies stretching and hauling themselves along the rocks. It is too rocky to disembark but well worth observing from a boat.

The rhesus macaques on Cayo Santiago, also known as Monkey Island, off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico, were introduced in 1938 for scientific research. Around 1,200 free-roaming monkeys can be found on the small island and while it is not open to tourists, you can get an up close view of the animals from the water.

The island of Tashirojima, or Cat Island, off the coast of Ishinomaki in Japan has a larger cat population than it has humans. The people who live on the island are those who take care of the cats. To the locals the cats represent luck and fortune, and there is even a cat shrine at the centre of the island, along with cat-shaped cottages. Cat-loving tourists are welcome to visit the island, but dogs are not allowed.

Every year during the wet season (October to December), Christmas Island's adult red crabs begin their migration from the forest to the Indian Ocean where they breed and spawn. With tens of millions of red crabs living on the island it is possible to witness them pour out of the jungle and take over Christmas Island. The phenomenon lasts several weeks, forcing roads to close for the crabs to cross.

Norway's famous bird island, Runde, is teeming with birds - more than 500,000 that visit from February to August during the nesting season. Bird mountain, with its cliff formations towards the ocean, is dominated by Atlantic puffins. Their nesting season is between April and August, when 100,000 pairs of puffins can be found on the western side of Runde. Outside puffin season, they stay at sea along the coast.

The tiny uninhabited island of Ilha da Queimada Grande, off the coast of Brazil, is definitely one to avoid as it is teeming with one of the most venomous snakes on the planet, the Golden Lancehead Viper. Every three feet, one of the snakes is lurking, terrifying generations of fisherman. Currently, the Brazilian Navy has banned people from visiting the island but occasionally scientists are granted access.

There are approximately 3,000 polar bears and just 2,642 people in the Svalbard archipelago. A large number of polar bears are found on the surrounding islands east of Spitsbergen, yet you should be prepared to encounter one anywhere in Svalbard. As the world's largest land carnivores they are beautiful but dangerous and human encounters often have a fatal outcome. There are polar bear watching cruises which allow you to see the animals from a distance.

Hawaiian island Kauai is famed for its lush vegetation, pristine beaches and… chickens. Roosters, hens and little chicks are found roaming the island and are believed to be descendants of former fighting cocks unleashed during a devastating hurricane which hit over a decade ago. The birds are found in outdoor food courts, ruining sugar cane and corn crops, and even waking tourists at the crack of dawn.


Top 25 things to do in London
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Burglar caught by Springwatch presenter's garden 'fox cam'

Not for nothing was the National Gallery named the UK's top visitor attraction in Tripadvisor's Travellers Choice Awards 2014. Set in London's iconic Trafalgar Square, this fabulous gallery hosts nearly 2,500 paintings from around Europe and is one of the richest art collections in the world. It's open daily between 10am and 6pm, and until 9pm on Fridays. Admission is free.

The country's largest museum and one of the oldest in the world, the British Museum is frequently named the UK's top attraction, with more than six million visitors a year. The museum is home to a vast collection of treasures dedicated to human history and culture. Open daily from 10.00 - 17.30 with later openings on Fridays (10.00 - 20.30). Admission is free.

The Victoria & Albert Museum (the V&A) hosts the biggest collection of decorative arts and design in the world, with a permanent collection of more than 4 million objects The museum is open daily between 10.00 - 17.45 and
10.00 - 22.00 on Fridays. Admission is free. 

The Brick Lane Music Hall has both matinees and evening shows accompanied with afternoon tea and a three course dinner respectively. Visit bricklanemusichall.co.uk for more information on the shows available.

The Palace of Westminster is home to both the House of Commons and House of Lords, which together make up the Houses of Parliament. Visitors have the opportunity to take tours of the building as well as watching committees and debates. 

The Tower of London is a historic castle on the banks of the Thames which houses the Crown Jewels and is said to be haunted by the ghost of Henry VIII's wife Anne Boleyn who was beheaded for treason in 1536. Book tickets online for reduced rates. Adult: £23.10. Child: £10.50. Concession: £17.60.


Taking a look around Churchill's War Rooms will give you the chance to discover the war time bunker that sheltered Churchill and the British government during the Blitz in World War II. Adult: £18. Child: £9. Concession: £14.40.

The Wallace Collection is an art gallery and museum housed in a historic London town house. The 25 galleries boast a world-famous collection of 15th and 19th century decorative arts as well as French 18th century paintings and a selection of Old Masters. The collection is open daily between 10am - 5pm. Admission is free. 

Big Ben is often thought to be the tower as a whole but the name was originally given to just the bell inside. The Elizabeth Tower stands at the western end if the House of Parliament and is open to the public. Tours of the tower are between 9.00am, 11.00am and 2.00pm Monday-Friday. Admission is free.

St James' Park is the oldest of London's eight Royal Parks and encompasses The Mall and Horse Guards Parade as well. Those visiting in June may be lucky enough to see the annual Trooping of the Colour which takes place on the Queen's birthday. The park is open daily between 05.00 and 00.00.

Borough Market is one of the capital's most well known wholesale and food markets with a host of British and international produce on offer. The market also hosts live demonstration kitchens and special events. Wednesday - Thursday: 10am - 5pm. Fridays: 10am - 6pm. Saturdays: 8am - 5pm.

The Courtauld is known for its impressive collection of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. The gallery and institute are both found in Somerset House which is a former Tudor Palace on the Strand. The Institute is open daily between 10am – 6pm. Adults: £7. Concessions: £16. Under 18s: FREE.

London's Royal Opera House is home to The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra with the building dating back to 1732. Many of the composer Handel's oratorios were written specifically for the grand Covent Garden venue. Visit roh.org.uk for more information about what you can see at the venue while in the city.

This poignant memorial can be found in Green Park, London and commemorates the crews of the RAF Bomber Command who served during the second world war. The statue serves as a memorial for the 55,573 people who lost their lives during the war.

Westminster Abbey is one of the most well known religious buildings in the whole of the UK and has hosted a number of Royal weddings, coronations and burials. The Abbey is open to visitors Monday to Friday between 09.30 and 15.30. Adult: £20.00. Student/Senior: £17.00. Child: £9.

The Royal Albert Hall is best known for holding the Proms concert every summer since 1941 and several of the world's leading artists have performed there. Unusuall for a concert venue, the Hall also plays host to the ATP tennis Champions Tour Masters each year.

The Natural History Museum is home to a wide range of life and earth science specimens and is particularly well known for 'Dippy', the large cast of a Diplodocus skeleton which can be found in the central hall. The museum is open to the public daily between 10.00 and 17.50. Admission is free.

Found in the former Hendon Aerodrome, the RAF Museum has five exhibitions halls displaying a world class collection of aircrafts from history as well as interactive exhibits, films, medals and uniforms and much more. The museum is open daily between 10am - 6pm. Admission is free. 

Regent's Park is one of London's Royal Parks and it can be found in the north west of the city, covering 395 acres. The Park is home to an Open Air Theatre, London Zoo and an amazingly diverse range of wildlife.

Tower Bridge is one of the most iconic sights in London and can be found bridging the Thames alongside the Tower of London. The bridge also recently unveiled a glass floor walkway 42 metres above the river granting visitors a spectacular view. Tickets are valid for a year and can be booked online but must bought 24 hours in advance. Adult: £8.00. Student: £5.65. Child: £3.50.

The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel which is also known as the Millennium Wheel. It was originally opened March 2000 and one turn of the wheel takes around 30 minutes granting visitors a stunning aerial view of the capital. Standard ticket: £19.35. Fast track: £28.35.

The Camden markets are often considered one of the creative hearts of London. Camden Lock is one of a number of markets found in the area. The market features stalls hosting fashion retailers, artists and independent designers. The market is open Monday to Sunday, 10am - 6pm.

The National Portrait Gallery was the first portrait gallery opened in the world and features the portraits of historically important and well known British people. The gallery is open daily 10.00 - 18.00 with late opening on Thursdays and Fridays (10.00 - 21.00). Admission is free. 

Hyde Park is another of London's Royal Parks, covering more than 600 acres. It is also home to the famous Speaker's Corner, an open-air public speaking area. The Serpentine River runs through the park and offers both swimming and boating areas to visitors.

St Paul's is an Anglican cathedral and is the home of the Bishop of London. It can be found on top of Ludgate Hill which is also the highest point in the whole of the City of London. Amazingly the cathedral, which was built in 1675, survived the Blitz during WWII.


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