Two men were today jailed for hunting illegally in the closed season.

Joseph Darmanin, 39, of Qrendi was jailed for two years and fined €9,000 while Rene Bezzina, 27, of Gharghur, was jailed for a year and fined €5,000 after they were found guilty of hunting in the closed season in separate hearings.

Both have also been prohibited, for life, from holding a hunting licence and a licence to keep a firearm. Their firearms were confiscated.

The two men were also found guilty of being relapsers.

Inspector Ramon Mercieca prosecuted.

In a statement BirdLife said the two men were jailed for targeting protected White Storks on May 18.

It congratulated the ALE on their successful action and said that enforcement had be supported by effective court sentences such as those given in these cases if illegal hunting was to be controlled.

“BirdLife Malta is hopeful that future court sentences will increasingly serve as real deterrents to illegal hunting,” BirdLife president Joseph Mangion said.