A FARMER heard the “frenzied barking” of dogs and knew they were hunting badgers, a court heard.
Bleddyn Jones told Caernarfon Magistrates he was going to feed cattle on land near Criccieth last April when he spotted a van parked close to the well established badger sett.
A few minutes later he heard the dogs barking. When he went to investigate he saw two men and heard more dogs barking. One of the men was digging with a small shovel.
Keith Williams, 31, of Bethel Road, Caernarfon, and Dennis Dwayne Williams, also 31, of Llys Tryfan, Caernarfon, deny charges of attempting to take a badger, digging for badgers and interfering with badger setts.
Mr Jones said: “The dogs were barking in a way they do when they are chasing after another animal. It was frenzied.”
Standing on a road where he could see the sett, he clearly saw the two men and their dogs. When he entered the field moments later he saw the men walking towards him. The dogs – terriers, a greyhound and a lurcher – were on leads.
“One at least had a bloodied nose – from nostrils to the eye it was covered in thick blood.
“I asked them what they were doing. They had no reason to be there. I told them I knew what they had been doing and had been at the badger sett and I was afraid I would get the blame.
“They just took the dogs back to the van. One of them said he’d been visiting for years,” said Mr Jones.
Quizzed by Clive Rees, for Keith Williams, he said there had been a badger sett in the field for many years. He added he had seen badger activity in the area the previous week.
Arrested and interviewed by police, Keith Williams accepted it was his van and that he was at the scene but declined to name his companion.
Dennis Williams was arrested during a search of Keith Williams’ home. He denied being on the land but was identified by the farmer.
Anna Pope, for Dennis Williams, asked if he was sure he had identified her client. “I’m happy enough in myself that it was him,” Mr Jones said.
Badger expert Elizabeth Lee visited the site several weeks after the incident and concluded it had been an active sett in recent months.
But defence expert Stephen Lomax disagreed stating he believed the sett to have been abandoned for some time.
The trial continues.