Vermin Patrol 2003 – Part 1


A deliberate attack on a badger sett during the badger’s breeding season has earned a £2,000 fine for the woman responsible. With the assistance of workmen, Patricia Cohen of 83 Cromwell Road, Kingston Upon Thames, cut down a number of trees and filled in several entrances to a badger sett, which was in the garden of a premises she owned. The police were called to the scene, and found that large logs had been placed over several entrances to the badger sett. Another sett entrance had been filled in using heavy soil. In addition, creosote had been poured over the area. The case against Cohen was heard at Kingston magistrates on 15/1/03. Cohen pleaded guilty to offences against the Protection of Badger’s Act 1992. Fortunately, the badgers survived the attack on their home.

Farmer Trevor Davies (72) of Coed-y-Bryn, Lixwm, near Holywell filled in two badger holes on his North Wales farm and poured oil around them – because he believed that the setts presented a danger to his cattle Flintshire magistrates heard on 30/1/03. Davies got a mechanical bucket on the back of his tractor and pushed all the soil back into the two holes. He then poured oil around the holes in the hope the badgers would stay away. He admitted two charges of damaging and obstructing a badger sett and was given a conditional discharge for two years and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £100.


A drunken kennel worker who swore and shouted at police officers during a demonstration outside of the Houses of Parliament escaped a penalty o 6/1/03 after he apologised in court. David Sherwood (46) from Whittonstall, Northumberland, who is the kennel man with the Braes of Derwent Hunt was conditionally discharged without penalty after Bow Street magistrates heard he was “verbally hostile and aggressive” during a demonstration. The prosecution claimed Sherwood approached officers at a cordon erected to control the demonstration. “He was clearly under the influence of alcohol,” she said. “He grew verbally hostile and aggressive to the officers. He continued to behave in a disturbing manner… he was eventually arrested after being warned.” He was charged with being drunk and disorderly. Sherwood pleaded guilty. Magistrates imposed no penalty and conditionally discharged him for 12 months.

A fox hunt has had a noise abatement order imposed on it and the Master of Hounds has been told to stop his pack from baying to prevent a public nuisance. In what is believed to be the first action of its kind, The Isle of Wight Foxhoundswas served with the order after complaints from people living close to its kennels. Joint Master Richard Standing said on 8/1/03 that he would appeal against the order, which has been suspended until the matter is decided by magistrates later in January 2003. The complaints have come not from people opposed to fox hunting, but from hunt supporters who say that they cannot put up with the noise of barking hounds any longer. Anita Fitzgerald (42) one of those to complain, is a hunt supporter who has sung at the Isle of Wight Hunt Ball. She said: “This is nothing to do with the argument about hunting. It is about the most basic human right of being able to sleep.” She moved to a house close to the kennel at Gatcombe three years ago. “The noise has made my life a living hell,” she said. Fitzgerald said she had complained to the council only after discussions with the hunt had proved fruitless. “I tried everything to get things done amicably but now I have had to get the council involved. The constant noise of the dogs was driving me bonkers. “Together with another neighbour we complained to the council. It has investigated and seen fit to serve the notice. “We have been asked to give evidence and we most certainly will.” (I don’t think she will be asked back to sing at the next hunt ball)

On 9/1/03 Julian Leefe-Griffiths of Hollyhill, Colemans Hatch, admitted keeping a vehicle without an excise licence. He was fined £190 plus £45 prosecution costs, and ordered to pay £160 back duty. Leefe-Griffiths hunts with the Old Surrey & Burstow and West Kent Foxhounds

Marcus WrightMarcus Wright (28) of 7 Fernie Avenue, Melton, who is the kennel huntsman of The Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire Beagles was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer during a demonstration outside Westminster. His charge was later reduced to obstructing a police officer and he was fined £50 with £55 costs at Bow Street magistrates on 13/1/03.

Robin PageAllegations of racism were dropped on 21/1/03 against Robin Page (61) from Barton, Glos was questioned by police after saying country dwellers should enjoy the same rights as blacks, Muslims and homosexuals. Page was arrested on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred after making a speech at a pro-hunting rally which began: “If there is a black, vegetarian, Muslim, asylum-seeking, one-legged, lesbian lorry driver present…I want the same rights as you.”

Charges were dropped on 22/1/03 against a Norfolk farming student who was arrested at a demonstration in LondonGeorge Todhunter Bramley (20) from Gillingham, near Beccles, said last night he was “extremely relieved” to learn that no further action would be taken against him. He was due to appear before Bow Street magistrates charged with breach of cordon and demonstrating in a non-designated area. But a spokesman from the Crown Prosecution Service in London confirmed: “Mr Bramley’s case has been discontinued because it would not be in the public’s interest to continue it.” He was arrested after he handcuffed himself to the railings in front of the main entrance to the House of Commons.

Also on 22/1/03 Suffolk vet David Dugdale, from Freckenham, near Mildenhall, is charged with using threatening words and behaviour during a demonstration in London. His case is due to be heard at Bow Street magistrates on 21/2/03.

A father and son have been charged with assaulting two police officers outside Nantwich Civic Hall. Tony Kirkham (58) and his son Timothy (20) both of Ridley Farm, Tarporley, both are keen supporters of the Cheshire Foxhounds and Cheshire Forest Hunt were arrested at 1.30am and charged with three offences that left one police officer with a fractured wrist and the other with facial injuries. Both officers are now off work following the incident, with the policeman who suffered a fractured wrist unable to work for a fortnight. The incident took place outside the civic hall, which was staging The Cheshire Foxhounds Farmers Hunt Ball when the two men are alleged to have assaulted the officers who were helped by the hall’s doormen who came to their rescue. A police spokesman said: “The incident had nothing to do with protesters, it was a disturbance that took place outside the civic hall that ended up with two officers being assaulted. “Some of the doormen who were working at the hall came to their assistance as it was getting out of hand and we would like to say thank you to them for helping out the officers – it was a nasty incident.” Both men were charged with actual bodily harm, resisting or obstructing a constable in the execution of duty, with Tony Kirkham also charged with threatening behaviour and his son with obstructing a person assisting a constable in the execution of duty. The men appeared at Crewe magistrates Court on 22/1/03 and the case has now been adjourned until 19/3/03.

Poetic justice 25/1/03 – A man who tried to beat his dog to death with a shotgun has shot himself dead instead. Police say the Winchester, Virginia, man called his wife at work and told her their dog had bitten him and he intended to kill it. Investigators say the shotgun must have gone off while the man was using it to beat the dog. The stock of the weapon was broken and there appeared to be blood and dog hair on it. The dog was taken for to a vets to be looked at, but it’s not known how badly injured it is.

A dog breeder will spend most of his weekends in jail as punishment for felony charges related to a large dogfighting ring. Samson G. Pruitt (30) was sentenced in Wake County Superior Court on 27/1/03 two weekends in jail and three years’ supervised probation. He pleaded guilty to felony dogfighting and cruelty to animals after 81 pit bulls were removed from his house. Pruitt’s sentence also covered his guilty pleas to charges of possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana and maintaining a dwelling for the purpose of selling a controlled substance. Pruitt is not allowed to breed or board any dogs except three older family pets. Pruitt, who lived in Knightdale in Wake County at the time of his arrest, has moved to Durham County.

Animal officials confiscated 24 beagles and charged four area men with cruel neglect after the dogs were found in squalid conditions last week at a makeshift kennel in the Southbridge section of Wilmington, authorities said. Around 100 hunting beagles were kept at the kennel. Adrian Waters (38) of New Castle and Ronald Crump (48) of Newark, were each cited on 4/3/03 with eight misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. Preston Hudson (63) of Wilmington, received five animal-cruelty summonses and James Watson (45) of New Castle was cited with three counts of cruelty to animals. Animal-control officers had been monitoring the site in the 900 block of S. Heald St., removed 24 of about 100 beagles.

On 15/3/03 a company director who claimed to be a victim of a “regime of terror” has been jailed for 15 months after he lied during the trial of a major drugs dealer at the centre of a crime empire. Stewart Sayer (45) of Crows Hall Lane, Attleborough who was field master for the Dunston Harriers, said he was a under constant threat two years ago when he gave evidence at the trial of Richard Carter. Carter, along with his brother Stephen, ran a large-scale drug dealing operation and smuggled a steady supply of cannabis and heroin to inmates at Norwich prison. During the trial, Sayer lied in court to help Richard Carter hide his “ill-gotten” gains from his drug dealing empire. He said he bought a scrapyard in Wymondham for £75,000 through an offshore company when in fact Carter had provided the cash. Sayer admitted perjury.

On 27/3/03 three members of a gun club admitted shooting dead nearly 20 goats were ordered to pay E:6,000. John CollinsDiarmid O’Neill and Aidan Shannon with addressed in Drimoleague Co. Cork pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal damaged over the shooting of 18 goats. The men initially entered a not guilty plea at Skibbereen District Court, claiming they had been asked to kill the goats by a local farmer. They told the court Padraig Collins asked them to kill the animals because they were causing damage to land and crops near Drimoleague. Dunmanway District Court heard the defendants shot the goats with a rifle in the forest. Ten days later a local man found a wounded goat in the forest and contacted the gardai. Sadly, the goat had to be put down. The judge described the defendants as “foolish”. The men’s solicitor said his clients believed they were eliminating a pest problem. They were ordered to pay a total of E6,000 to the ISPCA, the Court Poor Box, the owners and the Garda Benevolent Fund. Sentencing was adjourned until 24/3/04.


Leonard O'Connor A bird-snatcher became the first person in the country to be jailed for stealing a hawk from the wild. Leonard O’Connor (35) of St Anne’s Road, Huyton was jailed for four months by Knowsley magistrates on 15/1/03 after he admitted possession of a wild bird. O’Connor also pleaded guilty to making a false declaration to DEFRA in relation to the bird in October 2001, taking two goshawks in May 2000 and being in possession of a goshawk tail.

Two men who targeted wild birds helped provide evidence against themselves by taking pictures at the scene Kirkwall Sheriff Court heard on 15/1/03. When questioned Michael Stockton (26) and John Latham (22) both from St Helens in Merseyside, denied having done anything illegal, but a box containing three Arctic tern eggs and three great skua eggs was found and four snipe eggs were discovered hidden by the roadside. Latham was fined £2,500 after pleading guilty to stealing Arctic tern, great skua and snipe eggs. He also admitted disturbing a wild bird at its nest site and possessing equipment used in the theft of eggs and the disturbance of nesting birds. The equipment and disturbance charges were also admitted by Stockton who was fined £2,000. A third man Andrew Kinsley (32) from Newton Le Willows in Merseyside, was fined £500 after admitting stealing two camouflage nets from a nature reserve in Aberdeenshire. None of the men was in court to hear sentence passed. (Lathams other conviction)

An Oswestry builder sent three wild birds for delivery to a customer in a cardboard box with only tiny slits for them to breathe any air, a court heard. The shocked recipient opened the box to find the rotting carcass of a bird inside and two jays in a poor state of health, Wrexham magistrates heard on 28/3/03. Police, RSPCA inspectors and an RSPB expert raided the home of the sender Mark Boilstone (41) of Nant Glyn, Pontfadog, where they found wild birds caged illegally in aviaries. They included a tawny owl, a curlew, a redshank, a bar tailed godwit, a hawfinch and a crossbill. Boilstone admitted illegal possession of live birds, advertising live wild jays for sale, and transporting the jays in a way likely to cause unnecessary suffering. Sentence was adjourned until next month for pre-sentence reports to be prepared and Boilstone was allowed bail.

A trapper who caught wild birds in the woods around Ongar was convicted and fined £3,000 after an elaborate undercover operation involving the police and the RSPCA. Officers from the RSPCA followed Paul Souter (55) from Loughton and watched him inspecting his traps and spreading bird seed on a mist net which he used to catch wild birds. At the same time, police and RSPCA inspectors raided his home and found cages containing wild British songbirds. When Souter’s wife phoned his mobile phone to tell him of the raid he was observed disposing of his traps in a lay-by on his way home. At Epping magistrates on 3/4/03 Souter was fined £500 for possession of the wild birds and a further £500 for taking birds from the wild. He was ordered to pay the £2,000 costs of the RSPCA and forced to hand over his equipment.


A Kent horse dealer has been banned from keeping horses for 10 years after an RSPCA inspector discovered two starving Thoroughbreds at Kevin O’Brien’s White Oak Stables, David Street, Harvel. Kevin O’Brien (55) of Lavidge Road, Eltham, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to the horses. At Dartford magistrates on 22/1/03 O’Brien was ordered to pay £1,400 towards RSPCA costs and carry out 180 hours of community punishment. He will also be electronically tagged and ordered to observe an 8pm to 6am curfew for the next two months.

On 24/1/03 a pensioner who admitted causing a horse unnecessary suffering has lost a battle to keep other animals on his farm. Norwich Crown Court upheld a 10-year ban on Hubert Barker (70) of Plumstead Road, Thorpe End from keeping any creatures. But he was given six months to sell or find new homes for his cattle, sheep and chickens before the ban takes effect. The judge did quash the £630 fine on Barker who said he refused to claim state benefits and chose to live off his meagre savings instead. The court heard the grey mare involved was humanely killed to prevent further suffering. 

A racehorse trainer faces a possible jail sentence after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to five Thoroughbreds in his care. On 30/1/03 Bury St Edmunds magistrates found that Kamil Mahdi (53) of Bill Rickaby Drive, Newmarket kept five Thoroughbreds in an emaciated condition, and warned him that he could face jail when he is sentenced next month. On 1/3/03 he was sentenced to a community punishment order of 240 hours for each charge, to run concurrently. He was also ordered to pay £5,500 to the RSPCA to help with the costs of looking after the horses, which were removed from his Green Ridge Stables, and ordered to pay £500 legal costs.


A fish dealer who tried to smuggle diseased foreign carp into the UK, risking a fatal viral outbreak among this country’s native species, is to serve a nine month suspended prison sentence, Maidstone Crown Court ruled on 31/3/03. Essex fish dealer Mark Anthony Dallas, trading as Premier Fish Supplies, who pleaded guilty to two illegal import offences under fish health legislation, is the first fish smuggler to face this penalty. A co-defendant, Lee Coles, of Chelmsford, received a 100-hour community service order. Both men are to pay costs set at £1,200 and £500 respectively. The court heard how 1.8 tonnes of diseased large live carp were smuggled into the country, via Dover. The consignment of 262 fish was intercepted at the Channel Tunnel by Government fish health inspectors. Tests carried out by identified the killer virus, Spring Viraemia of Carp (SVC) in samples taken from the consignment.

Farm Animals (Guardians Of The Land – My Arse!!!)

On 6/1/03 two men were warned they could go to prison for their part in an illegal goat-slaughtering operation. A district judge heard how 10 goats were killed in a barn at Londonderry, North Yorkshire, using a blunt knife. Harrogate magistrates were shown an undercover video in which the goats were butchered “while they appeared to be still alive”. Michael Hawkswell (26) of Nunwick, near Ripon and Isap Lakha (67) of Saville Road, Dewsbury, both admitted their parts in the illegal slaughter. Lakha, a retired butcher with 20 years’ experience, pleaded guilty to the ill-treatment of 10 goats and slaughtering the animals without a licence. Hawkswell admitted allowing goats he owned to be ill- treated and also allowing premises to be used as a slaughterhouse without a licence. On 3/2/03 Hawkswell was given a four-month prison sentence and Lakha was jailed for two months at Harrogate magistrates.

A farmer was warned he could face prison after admitting 32 cases of cruelty against sheep and cows when he appeared at Loughborough magistrates on 25/1/03. Richard Lawrence of Goodwood Close in Market Harborough, pleaded guilty to 30 charges of causing unnecessary suffering to the animals he kept on two plots of land at Frisby, near Melton. Of these, 20 charges related to the illegal docking of lambs tails. He also admitted keeping an animal which he failed to ensure was fed a wholesome diet and failing to dispose of three sheep carcasses. Lawrence is due to be sentenced at Loughborough magistrates on 14/2/03.

On 18/2/03 the pig farmer who was blamed for starting the foot and mouth epidemic appeared in court again. He has paid only £60 of the £10,000 legal costs imposed in June 2002 when he was convicted of gross animal cruelty and ignoring farm health regulations. Bobby Waugh will take 40 years to settle the bill at his present rate of payment, and may avoid most of it if he wins a fresh round of legal proceedings. A district judge in Sunderland heard that Waugh, who has been banned from keeping livestock for 15 years, was only able to pay £5 a week to the court. Waugh told the hearing that he owed £7,000 to the bank, after taking into account the value of his terraced house in Sunderland, earned just £70 a week, and was facing financial ruin. The judge told the new hearing that Northumberland was determined to exact the costs. It brought the case after Sunderland magistrates cut Mr Waugh’s bill to £520 in December when they were told he was crippled by debts and virtually bankrupt. The ruling was set aside pending Northumberland’s challenge and after protests from farmers and the Tory MP for Hexham, Peter Atkinson.

A farmer was charged with affray on 26/2/03 after a woman veterinary official was allegedly held face down in liquid slurry at a farm in Cornwall. Roger Baker (60) was also charged with making threats to kill and obstructing a police officer in the lawful execution ‘of his duty. He was remanded in custody and is expected to appear before magistrates in Truro later today. The incident happened when the vet aws investigating complaints about the welfare of sheep and cattle at a farm at Ventongimps, near Truro. The pair were allegedly held in a slurry pit. They emerged covered in mud and animal dung and were hosed down.


RSPCA inspectors raided a stud farm and discovered emaciated and sick dogs, Lewes magistrates heard on 18/1/03. The animals were suffering from severe diarrhoea and in a dull, depressed and lethargic state when they were seized. One of the dogs was so weak it had to be lifted into the RSPCA’s van. The animals were being looked after by farmer Barbara Joyce (51) of Manor Farm Cottages, South Heighton, Newhaven, who says she rescued them from Ireland and was caring for them before finding them new homes. Joyce who runs Quimper Stud Farm in Rodmell near Lewes, is accused of causing unnecessary suffering to four dogs. Her son Oliver Joyce (27) of Cinque Foil, Peacehaven, faces the same charges and is also accused of having custody of an animal while disqualified for five years. He was banned from owning animals in April 2002 after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to sheep. Oliver Joyce, who once made the semi finals of Crufts’ Young Handler of the Year competition, told the court he had not been to the stud farm for more than four months and had not worked with animals there since his ban was imposed. The hearing was adjourned to 13/2/03.

RSPCA inspectors who seized a bull-mastiff type dog from a Blackburn house could see every bone in its emaciated body, a court was told. On 22/1/03 Blackburn magistrates banned Amanda Jane Hickey (32) of Johnson Street, Blackburn and Sean Pinder (33) of Higson Street, Blackburn from keeping any animal for the next 10 years. The court heard after two months of care and proper feeding the dog had increased its body weight by 78%. Hickey and Pinder pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering. As well as being banned from keeping animals, they were each given a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay a total of £500 costs between them.

A Great Harwood woman has been banned from keeping animals for five years after one of her two cats died when they were left without regular food for up to 10 days. Carol Ashton (30) of Blackburn Road, admitted two charges of neglect when she appeared in court at Hyndburn on 22/1/03. As well as the ban Ashton was given a 12-month community rehabilitation order and ordered to pay £250 costs.

A man whose two dogs killed one cat and badly injured another has been convicted of failing to keep the dogs under proper control. David Paul, of The Wellington pub, Stand Lane, Radcliffe, had denied any wrongdoing by the dogs. However, on 22/1/03 Bury magistrates found him guilty in a prosecution brought by Bury Council. The court was told that a witness saw Paul’s dogs attacking a neighbour’s cat in his garden. He hit the pair with a golf club to free the cat, but its injuries were so bad it died later. The cat’s owner also recognised the dogs and had seen them roaming round her home. A month later, a second witness saw the dogs attack another cat, “pulling it between them like a tug of war”. The witness intervened, hitting one of the dogs and forcing them to let go of the cat. Although badly injured, it survived the attack. The court ordered Paul to keep the dog under proper control and to pay the council’s costs of £646.

Dog killer Suzanne GreenhalghA woman who drowned her pet dog and its five puppies in her kitchen sink before dumping them in a wheelie bin has been banned from owning any animal for 25 years. Suzanne Greenhalgh (43) of Roy Street, Royton, near Oldham was banned from owning a pet by Oldham magistrates on 6/2/03 after admitting the killings. She drowned the family pet and its five three-week-old puppies, before placing them in shopping bags and dumping them in the wheelie bin at the front of her home. Greenhalgh was ordered to do a 240-hour community order and banned from owning any animal for 25 years, she was also ordered to pay £861 prosecution costs.

A Tranmere man has been banned from keeping all animals for life after the RSPCA discovered his pet dog severely underweight and chained up in the back yard. The German shepherd, was found by the RSPCA chained up behind a terraced house in Tranmere. She had a scruffy appearance and on closer physical examination the inspector realised the dog was emaciated as her bones were prominent enough to touch. On 5/3/03 at Wallasey magistrates William Watson(59) of Allerton Road, Tranmere pleaded not guilty to causing unnecessary suffering but was found guilty after a trial. Magistrates banned Watson from keeping any animals for life. He was also given a 12-month community rehabilitation order and was ordered to pay costs of £500. Watson had refused to relinquish ownership of the dog and she was confiscated by the court. A new home has already been found for her by the RSPCA and is doing very well.


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