The book ‘Rural Reflections’ by Stuart Haddon-Riddoch, explains the brief commercial history of the Venus Trap
This company [A.A.Fenn] was advertising the new ‘Venus’ Magpie Trap in a March 1990 issue of The Shooting News, still priced at £12.95p, but now ‘also catches rabbit / rats etc’. Their January 1990 price list describes the ‘Venus’ Corvid Catcher as
‘A very versatile catching device suitable for magpies, rabbits, etc. Made with l”xl”x14G weld mesh. 20″x12”x4 ½ “ approx, when closed. To set: sides apart to their fullest extent then raise treadle till sides are kept apart. Keep fingers away from edges after setting. Corvids: Place in position in rough herbage so that entry is made from one end, or from above. Camouflage, then bait with eggs, dead chicks, rabbit, etc. Make sure the trap is firm when set and secure it if thought necessary. Can be set in hedge out of reach of dogs etc. Rabbits: Can be caught on runs through undergrowth, fences, etc. Camouflage trap well. In some situations carrots can be used as bait. Captives can easily be extracted if one spring is unhooked. Lubricate the spring slides for easy operation. The trap will also catch rats, squirrels, etc.’
The Shooting Times later carried a short article under the heading, MAFF Warning on Magpie Traps, which stated. ‘Owners of 50 magpie traps from a company in Worcester could be breaking the law, as the trap which uses a spring has not been approved for sale. It is not offence to own one of these traps but it is an offence to use one. The trap does not meet the standards of humaneness and efficacy required under section eight of the Pests Act 1954.