Gamekeeper cleared of trapping birds

29/6/2015

A gamekeeper has been cleared of trying to trap wild birds, after a judge ruled RSPB video evidence gained by trespassing could not be used in court.

District Judge Kevin Grego, at Telford Magistrates’ Court, excluded the covert footage showing Neil Wainwright.

Wainwright, of Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire, was cleared of three counts related to trapping wild birds but admitted three unrelated charges.

The RSPB said it would discuss with the CPS the case’s wider implications.

Wainwright, who was fined £500 plus costs, claimed he had used two white quails in a trap at Birch Hill Wood, near Ratlinghope, south Shropshire, to catch mink or stoat rather than birds of prey.

RSPB investigator Howard Jones saw a pheasant run and a cage with birds in and trespassed on to land to investigate further, the court heard.

‘Disproportionate’

Mr Jones found a trap with two white quails inside being used as live bait and returned another day to set up covert recording equipment, the district judge was told.

When Mr Jones trespassed the first time to take a closer look he was "well meaning", but his return to set up covert recording equipment was "disproportionate", the judge said.

He said even when trespassers acted with the best motives, that did not allow their conduct to be "unfettered".

Wainwright was fined £300 for not storing ammunition properly and £200 for not storing chemicals properly and ordered to pay costs of £85 and a £30 surcharge.

He was cleared of using and setting a trap related to the wild birds and failing to ensure the quails’ welfare.

Speaking outside court, Mr Jones said it was first time he had known such covert video evidence from the RSPB not to be allowed in court.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-shropshire-33310802
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Huntsman found guilty of handling stolen goods

Andrew Callwood is the Cheshire Forest Hunt whipper-in

09 Jun 2015

A Knutsford man has been found guilty of handling a stolen John Deere tractor worth more than £20,000

On 1st May 2015, Andrew Callwood, of Seven Sisters Lane, Knutsford, appeared at Chester Magistrates Court charged with Handling Stolen Goods, namely a John Deere 6320 tractor. Callwood had pleaded Not Guilty to the offence.

The Court heard that on the afternoon of Tuesday 8th April 2014, PC Millar, an officer with Cheshire Police Motorcyclist Roads Policing Operations Team was undertaking patrol duties on the A556, Chester Road, Northwich when he caused a John Deere 6320 tractor and trailer to stop. The officer had noted that there was no rear registration mark on the trailer and that it obscured the registration mark of the tractor. On stopping the tractor, PC Millar noticed further discrepancies with the tractor’s vehicle excise licence.

The tractor and trailer were seized by Police and later examined by a Cheshire Police Stolen Vehicle Examiner who concluded that the John Deere 6320 tractor was an outstanding stolen tractor having been stolen from Staffordshire in August 2009.

The court heard that Andrew Callwood had been in possession of the stolen tractor, which he had claimed that he had bought with no receipts or paperwork for £5,200 in 2012.

The John Deere 6320 tractor had been valued at £28,500 at the time of the theft by the insurer NFU Mutual.

Magistrates did not agree with Callwood’s explanation and he was found guilty. He received a fine of £2048.00 plus costs of £620.00. In addition, Callwood also received 125 hours unpaid community service.

PC Mike Dawber, stolen vehicle examiner with Cheshire Police said “This sends out a clear message that rural areas are not a soft touch and if you are involved with committing rural crime in Cheshire or elsewhere, that irrespective of time, we will track you down and put you in front of the Courts.”

https://www.cheshire.police.uk/news–appeals/latest-news/2015/06/man-found-guilty-of-handling-s.aspx

Also see – Cheshire Forest Hunt whipper-in fined for assaulting female employee

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Badger baiting in North Wales

Badger and dog made to ‘fight until the death’ in Flint

13the June 2015

The dog was found with serious injuries on Saturday morning near the spot where a dead badger was discovered

A badger and a dog were made to "fight until the death" in a suspected baiting in Flintshire, the RSPCA has said.

An investigation was triggered when residents of Ffordd yr Ysgol, Flint, found a female badger dead in a pool of blood on Saturday morning.

A dog – a bull breed lurcher cross – was also discovered abandoned in playing fields near Cornist Park County Primary School with serious injuries.

The RSPCA called the alleged baiting a "serious form of premeditated cruelty".

The animal charity received reports of distressed screams in the area at about 1:00 BST.

RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes said the discovery of the animals was "an incredibly gruesome sight".

He said: "It looks like someone has set this dog onto this badger and then just left them to fight it until the death.

"The badger would have had a horrific death, and she was a female so could well have young somewhere needing her care."

He said the dog, which has since been named Flint, was in a "horrific state" and needed urgent veterinary attention.

‘Extremely serious’

He suffered a tear to the ear, a serious injury to his nose, broken teeth and puncture wounds all over his body.

"Animal fighting involving dogs and wildlife is an extremely serious form of premeditated cruelty," Mr Joynes added.

Police Community Support Officer Mike Gray posted on Twitter: "Pretty horrific job this morning..At the aftermath of badger baiting in the #FLINT area overnight".

The RSPCA said it was dedicated to investigating such incidents and bringing culprits before the courts.

It urged anyone with information to get in contact on 0300 123 8018, or to contact North Wales Police on 101.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-east-wales-33121839
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UPDATE: On 16 fox cubs found

"Further to the discovery earlier this week of 16 fox cubs in a barn in Malton and the subsequent arrest of a man for animal cruelty, the RSPCA have made the following statement implicating the Middleton Hunt:


"North Yorkshire police are considering whether to bring charges against the Middleton hunt for keeping fox cubs in a barn. It is not clear yet what the hunt was planning on doing with the cubs "

Really? we all know what the implication for the cubs was … So glad they were found

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Mystery as police seize 16 fox cubs from North Yorkshire barn

Thursday 04 June 2015

POLICE have seized 16 fox cubs discovered in a barn near Malton and have launched an investigation into how they got there.

Acting on a tip, officers searched an outbuilding on the Birdsall Estate on Sunday morning, where they found the cubs, all aged from about six to eight weeks old.

Acting under the Animal Welfare Act, they rescued the cubs and took them to an animal sanctuary outside North Yorkshire.

The foxes were being fed and had access to water, but police say they need further information as to how they got in the barn, why they were there, and who put them there.

PC Jez Walmsley, wildlife crime officer for the Ryedale area, said: “These cubs had been taken out of the wild, and will have come from at least four different litters. I am appealing to anyone with any information about these foxes, particularly landowners and the communities of Birdsall, Leavening and Thixendale, to contact me. I also want to hear from anyone who is aware of earth being dug out or vixens being killed, as they could have important information that could assist the investigation.”

A man has been arrested and released on police bail.

Anyone with information should call North Yorkshire Police on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/general-news/mystery-as-police-seize-16-fox-cubs-from-north-yorkshire-barn-1-7293249

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Man charged with burglary and cock fighting

A Warden man has appeared in court charged with animal cruelty and burglary offences.

Lee Chambers, of Cliff View Gardens, was charged in the early hours of Thursday (June 4) with three counts of burglary with intent to steal, in connection with reported break-ins at outhouses in Westwood Court, Sheldwich, between 14 May and the following day.

Chambers was also charged with animal cruelty in connection with a reported cock fight in March.

He appeared at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court and was remanded in custody to appear at court again on a later date to be decided.

http://www.kentnews.co.uk/news/sheppey_man_charged_with_animal_cruelty_and_burglary_offences_1_4102093

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Foxhunting ban: scores of Conservatives will vote against repeal, minister predicts

Tracey Crouch, minister for sport, predicts that 30 to 40 Conservative MPs will help defeat attempts to repeal the hunting ban by either abstaining or voting against it.

By Emily Gosden, Rosa Prince and Michael Wilkinson

30 May 2015

Scores of Conservative MPs will block attempts to overturn the ban on foxhunting, a government minister has said.

Tracey Crouch, the minister for sport and an opponent of hunting, said she expected 30 to 40 Tories to either abstain or vote against repeal of the Hunting Act in a free vote promised by the Conservative government.

She said she believed this would be enough to prevent a repeal bill passing – irrespective of whether Scottish National Party MPs took part.

"I just don’t believe in hunting, I don’t enjoy the sight of one animal tearing another animal to pieces,” she said.

The new intake of Conservative MPs were “younger [and] more diverse in their background and many are from urban areas”, she said. “Many of them share my views.”

Analysis of MPs’ public statements and data collected by campaign groups suggests that at least 28 Conservative MPs are thought likely to vote against the repeal and at least two are likely to abstain.

Among the newly-elected MPs who have publicly declared they are against fox hunting are Andrea Jenkyns, who defeated shadow chancellor Ed Balls; Kevin Foster, who defeated the Lib Dems in Torbay; and Will Quince, MP for Colchester.

Caroline Dinenage, the minister for equalities, and Dominic Raab, the justice minister, are patrons of the Blue Fox Conservatives Against Fox Hunting group, along with Ms Crouch, Mike Weatherley, Sir David Amess and Sir Roger Gale.

David Cameron has personally backed a repeal and said that people should have the “freedom to hunt”.

Nicola Sturgeon’s party has yet to decide whether it will vote on the repeal as the Act does not apply in Scotland, which has its own hunting ban.

Simon Hart MP, who supports the repeal of the ban, told the Telegraph that while he also expected similar levels of Tory support – forecasting 300 out of 330 Conservative MPs may vote for repeal – he believed the vote could still pass.

He argued that combined with Labour rebels, DUP, Plaid and abstentions it would be enough for a majority.

Ministers have insisted that a vote on repeal will be brought forward as a government bill in government time, in line with the Conservatives’ manifesto pledge.

However such a bill was absent from the Queen’s Speech, triggering claims the issue was being delayed as politically toxic.

Mr Hart suggested a vote should be held soon.

"These things are never easy but if there is the political will then it can be done," he said. "I can’t see what the advantage is of leaving it. Why hang around? It seems to be a running sore and it would be nice to bring it to a conclusion."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/foxhunting/11639775/Foxhunting-ban-scores-of-Conservatives-will-vote-against-repeal-minister-predicts.html
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Gamekeepers – friends of wildlife (my arse!!!) Part 235

Walker left horrified after stumbling upon heap of dead animals in wood near Baldock

26 May 2015
James Scott

A walker took a photo of a heap of dead animals within yards of a public footpath, in Spital Wood,which is situated between Baldock and Wallington.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, says he made the discovery while walking past privately-owned land in Spital Wood – situated between Baldock and Wallington – on Friday afternoon.

He said: “When I stumbled on this horror, I counted deer, rabbits, hares, squirrels, foxes, stoats, weasels, crows, magpies and jays.

“Who knows what’s beneath the top layers. Could there be badgers, red kites or buzzards? Who knows? Clearly whoever trapped, snared, poisoned, and shot these wild creatures knows no compassion.

“What could be sacred to this monster? Well I’ll tell you. Pheasants and partridges. This mess is sitting next to pheasant pens, and is approached through a minefield of wire snares.

“And fen traps that snap the backs of any small four-legged animal that wander onto them.

“Who is responsible? We’ll try and name and shame the lowlife gamekeeper, but it’s the landowners and in the bigger picture the shooting industry that employs men to eliminate anything that might be perceived as a threat to their precious birds, that will be shot for recreation in the winter.

“Is that obscene, or am I going mad? Another, perhaps the only, reason why people hunt foxes with dogs?”

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Gamekeepers – friends of wildlife (my arse!!!)

Sir Ian Botham goes into bat against bird charity over saving the hen harrier
May 25, 2015

It is all happening a long way from the Westcountry, but the row over hen harriers has relevance for conservation everywhere. Philip Bowern reports

The hen harrier is one of the most treasured and threatened birds in Britain. And after adult birds abandoned two nests in the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, on moorland used for grouse shooting, there was outrage from conservationists, some of whom pointed the finger at shooting interests.

Sir Ian Botham, the former Somerset and England cricketer – a country lover and passionate defender of shooting sports – has joined the debate, and claimed that gamekeepers, rather than posing a threat to the iconic birds of prey, offer the best hope of their long-term survival.

“The RSPB are deckchair conservationists with binoculars who sit and watch failing nests,” he said. “They campaign, they complain, they blame – but they are rubbish at conservation. Year after year the RSPB fails to live up to its name and protect birds. If you want to protect birds from predators you need gamekeepers not the RSPB.”

The argument, answered equally robustly by the RSPB’s director of conservation Martin Harper, goes to the heart of the debate around the best ways to conserve threatened birds of prey.

Sir Ian is offering a £10,000 reward to anyone prepared to rescue abandoned hen harrier eggs, hatch them out, rear the chicks and release them back into the wild. Such an option can’t help the two nests recently abandoned – their eggs will have gone cold and any chicks will be dead. But, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) argues, it could help other threatened hen harriers.

The pro-shooting GWCT says that between 1973-77 in North America, conservationists managed to produce more than 300 peregrines from eggs in this way. By 1979 more than 30 species of raptor, from falcons to large vultures, had been raised in captivity.

It goes on report that in 1994 French conservationists started collecting Montagu’s harrier eggs from nests located in arable fields just before harvest, hatching out the chicks and reintroducing them into the wild. The GWCT says, in a recent blog: “The details, which were published in 2000, strongly suggest there are no grounds for concern over behavioural issues after the fledged chicks were released back into the wild.”

Any such action would have to be authorised by Natural England because it is an offence to interfere with the nest of a hen harrier and a licence would have to be granted. Those removing the eggs would also have to move fast, taking the eggs from a nest that had been clearly abandoned before they cooled and getting them to an incubator.

The GWCT says: “Remote cameras continually monitor each nest so it should be possible to asses when a male is late retuning to the nest. As soon as the female leaves the nest observers could move quickly, with portable incubator boxes and switch the eggs with ‘dummies’. If the adults were to return the real eggs could be replaced. Either way the eggs are not lost.”

The Trust, which supports shooting interests, believes such a plan to save the remaining hen harriers of the northern moors should be put in place urgently.

It goes on “One report suggests 70% of hen harrier nesting attempts failed on grouse moors due to adults going missing. Having a contingency plan in place would ensure the eggs hatch and the progeny are returned to the wild. With the hen harrier population so low, it appears odd to repeatedly allow clutches of 5-8 eggs to fail.”

Sir Ian Botham wants to put in place measures to save further hen harrier losses. The RSPB, however, wants to know what happened to the adult birds which have abandoned the latest two nests. The implication is that gamekeepers are to blame because hen harriers predate on grouse chicks and grouse shooting is what sustains the moorland as a commercial prospect.

Martin Harper, RSPB director of conservation recently acknowledged the value of lowland pheasant shoots for providing good habitat for other species, including song birds. In this instance, however, he is less sympathetic to the shooting interests.

“While the RSPB is intent on bringing hen harriers back from the brink of extinction, we’re not yet able to bring them back from the dead – which is what Ian Botham and the British grouse shooting industry, which is funding this campaign, appear to be suggesting by proposing the transfer of already-dead, abandoned eggs into incubators,” he writes.

“While we do not know what has happened to these birds, the circumstances in which they disappeared is highly suspicious and history tells us that the most likely reason is illegal persecution, following a pattern of bird of prey disappearances on intensively managed grouse moors. This is why the police are investigating.

“The cause of hen harriers’ continued rarity and the solution to tackle this is obvious. The RSPB will continue to focus on ending illegal persecution, rather than Ian Botham’s dubiously legal nest-interference scheme based on half-truths and prejudices.”

http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Sir-Ian-Botham-goes-bat-bird-charity-saving-hen/story-26567858-detail/story.html

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