Two brothers accused of killing a badger have been cleared of all charges.
William Crotty, 30, and his 22-year-old brother, Ricky, were charged after they were caught with spades and a Lurcher-type dog in a field near Bassingbourn on November 6 last year.
But following a three-day trial at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court, they were found not guilty on Friday and have each been cleared of all three charges.
William, of Field Crescent, Royston, and Ricky, of Willowside Way, Royston, who both run their own tree surgeon and landscape design firms, say their businesses – and families’ lives – have been affected since the charges.
William, known locally as Billy, said he and his sibling were pleased with the jury’s verdict but that the last six months have been “pure stress”.
He said: “Obviously we are pleased we have been found not guilty on all of the charges but we knew that ourselves all along.
“We were not badger baiting and we have never been badger baiting as we are aware that it is illegal.
“On the day in question we were on a farmer’s field, with his permission, in pursuit of foxes, which is entirely legal.
“My brother and I both do voluntary pest control for a number of farmers and that is what we were doing.
“The last six months have been pure stress for us.
“Our businesses have been affected and our whole families’ lives have been, even our children.
“The police confiscated my 4×4 the day we were arrested and that is the vehicle I use for work.
“It meant that I was restricted to what work I could do over the winter, which put pressure on our families.
“We’ve even had the animal rights people on our backs and all along we were innocent.
“The whole thing has been a complete joke and waste of taxpayers’ money.”
The brothers denied three charges each in total – interfering with badger setts, digging for badgers and wilfully killing a badger.
The same charges were also denied by Scott Brown, 28, of Boldon Colliery, Tyne and Wear, Kevin Cowell, 33, of Enfield, Middlesex, David Fox, 45, of Ongar, Essex, and Gabrielle Freeney, 31, also of Enfield. They too were found not guilty by the jury.