On 31/3/04 Leslie Fowell (34) of St Paul’s Road, Rock Ferry appeared before Wirral magistrates charged with eight offences under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. The charges include willfully injuring badgers and cruelly ill-treating badgers. The badger offences are alleged to have taken place in Flintshire. Fowell is also charged with possession of an offensive weapon and possession of a controlled drug. He was bailed until 23/6/04
Ten people were arrested on suspicion of causing suffering to animals and disturbing a badger sett. The arrests were made as part of in a joint police and RSPCA operation in Bracewell near Gisburn on 26/4/04. The men – three from Barnoldswick and the other seven from Wigan and Leigh – were released on police bail pending further enquiries. The operation followed a tip-off that a group were planning to visit the area to carry out a deer hunt and badger digging. They were arrested at the site of a badger sett. On 6/5/04 a man was arrested on suspicion of taking part in badger baiting after a raid on a house in Lancashire. Police and RSPCA officers raided a house in the Todmorden Road area of Bacup. They seized property and removed two dogs, which are now in the care of RSPCA officers.
A man who pleaded guilty to interfering with badger setts in a nature reserve was fined Euro €350 on 4/6/04. Michael O’Dowd (45) of Grange Crescent, Mullingar, pleaded guilty to two counts of interfering with a breeding area of a protected wild animal and of failure to comply with a request of a ranger. Mullingar District Court heard how O’Dowd admitted he dug out a badger sett, but only after a terrier he had brought hunting got stuck in the hole. His solicitor said he had been hunting foxes and not badgers. National Parks and Wildlife Service rangers found freshly dug out badger setts and bait. When they called to Mr O’Dowd’s house he refused them permission to see his dogs or shovel.
On 10/6/04 two Ashington area men were arrested by police in connection with alleged badger baiting and stealing dogs. The arrests followed investigations into badger setts being dug up and the animals being taken away by the group of diggers. Both arrested men, a man in his 30s and a teenage male, have been bailed to appear before Crawley magistrates on 17/7/04. The RSPCA was involved in raids which led to the arrests. Three terrier-type dogs and a cockerel were seized from a house in the Penne Retreate area of Ashington and a Saluki cross-bred was taken from a Washington property. A dead badger cub was found at a sett after the diggers had left.
Damien Penrose (18) of Torrington Court, Park North, appeared at Swindon magistrates on 7/1/04 after he and a 15-year old accomplice shot a male mute swan dead with an air rifle, and hid it in a hedge. They also shot and injured the swan’s mate, leaving it to look after the pair’s four cygnets with blood pouring from its head. The female bird later died. He pleaded guilty to killing a wild bird, injuring a wild bird, having a loaded weapon in a public place and criminal damage. Penrose was jailed for eight weeks. Half of the sentence is to be served in the young offenders’ wing of Reading prison and the rest on licence in the community. Penrose’s accomplice was sentenced in November 2003 to four months’ detention and training, half of which will be served in secure accommodation and half in the community.
Richard Cartwright (30) of West View, Low Row, near Brampton agreed to help a farmer to rid his land of rabbits ended up in court after straying into a neighbouring field. Cartwright admitted taking 32 rabbits without permission. Carlisle magistrates heard on 11/3/04 that a farmer called the police after seeing Cartwright and two other men Darren Snowden(32) of Brookside, Carlisle and John Taggart (29) of New Street, Wigton on his land. The court heard how they had a ferret, and a small terrier dog tied to the fence and that the men had been digging in the hedgerow where the police saw 32 dead rabbits. Charges were dropped against Snowden and Taggart as prosecutors accepted that they genuinely believed they had permission to be in that field. Cartwright was given a conditional discharge and warned to stay away from unauthorised land in the future. He was also ordered to pay £43 costs.
A Carlisle man who encouraged his dogs to kill a cat in a savage attack has been banned from keeping animals from three years. After his dogs had mauled the cat Darren Michael Coady (33) of Talkin Close, Durranhill, Carlisle, then stamped on its body, picked it up and threw it over a wire fence into some bushes. Following a night out in the pub, Coady was seen and heard by witnesses encouraging his Lurcher and Greyhound dogs to kill the cat by shouting ‘Go on lass, kill it’. He was heard shouting this about five times. Prosecutor Linda Vance told Carlisle Magistrates Court: Coady had pleaded guilty to ill treating the animal. On 31/3/04 Carlisle magistrates gave Coady an 120-hour community punishment order and banned him from keeping animals for three years. He was ordered to pay £70 costs.
Jamie Hawksfield, West Sussex County Chairman of the Countryside Alliance was arrested on 13/4/04 and taken to Crawley Police Station. Here he was shown video of him threatening and assaulting an anti-hunt protester. The incident occurred at a meeting of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt . He admitted the offence and was given a formal police caution as he is a first time offender.
Ringgold, Ga. – Three Catoosa County men have pleaded guilty and were sentenced on charges relating to a dog fighting ring. Two of the men were charged with multiple counts of cruelty to animals. Another was jailed on a parole violation after appearing in court. Sentenced on 14/4/04 were Buford Lamar Green (25) Ronald Lamar Kilgore, Jr. (21) and Donald Lamar Kilgore (22). Green pleaded guilty to 10 counts of cruelty to animals and one count of interfering with an officer. The magistrate sentenced him to 30 days in jail and he will not be allowed to have any animals for 30 years. Donald Kilgore pleaded guilty to 10 counts of cruelty to animals and one count of failure to restrain an animal. He got 180 days in jail, 60 months of probation without animals and was fined $3,030. He also will have to pay the county $542.92 for a veterinarian bill. Ronald Kilgore pleaded guilty to one charge of obstruction and received a 36-month suspended sentence. But he was taken to jail on a parole violation and was told he would not be able to own animals for 36 months.
Two men admitted poaching for rabbits in Wirral at Birkenhead magistrates on 14/4/04. Gary Fowell of Alderley Avenue, Claughton, and Lee Murphy of Weathersfield Road, Noctorum, were caught at Poulton Hall, Bromborough. The court heard they were dressed in army-style clothes and boots, and were flanked by a pack of five or six dogs. The police saw four males and identified all four of them, in particular Gary Fowell and Lee Murphy. Gary Fowell said they were there rabbiting. They entered guilty pleas to poaching. Both pleaded guilty to trespassing on land at Poulton Hall in pursuit of game, woodcocks, snipe or comies. They were fined £100 each and ordered to pay £65 costs
A hunt supporter was jailed on 23/4/04 for four and a half years for sexually assaulting three girls. David Stephens (44) a horse breeder and dealer who rides with The Four Burrows Hunt in Cornwall was banned from working with children under 18 when he appeared before Truro Crown Court. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender. Stephens of Kenwyn was found guilty of three charges of indecent assault and admitted perverting the course of justice by asking two friends to give him a false alibi.
Pittsburgh (AP) – On 24/4/04 five men pleaded guilty to charges of being involved in a dogfighting ring in Pennsylvania. The five men, including a pet store owner, were arrested for arranging fights between pit bulls in basements and warehouses over at least a five-year period. The fights had purses of up to $50,000. According to arrest warrants, members of the ring also trained dogs to fight and had organised and promoted fights in western and central Pennsylvania. Police seized 21 pit bulls, guns, steroids, training equipment, underground dog fighting magazines and a photo album full of fighting dogs. Brothers Harry Ackerman Jr., (32) and Thomas Ackerman (28), Richard Henderson (50) Robert Cooper (48) and Christopher Bryce (28) pleaded guilty to charges ranging from animal cruelty to attempting to buy illegal drugs.
Nine men were arrested when police and RSPCA inspectors raided a barn and discovered an illegal cockfighting ring on 28/4/04. They found a gang of men betting on the illegal sport in which specially bred cockerels, normally armed with razor-sharp spurs attached to their legs, fight to the death. The police said: ‘The RSPCA obtained intelligence that this was taking place at a location in Mundham. ‘We caught the men in the act when we burst in and they tried to scarper. But our officers were quicker and we managed to catch them all.’ The nine men were all charged under the Animal Cruelty Act. They have all been bailed pending further police inquiries. A total of 15 birds were seized at the address and are being cared for at local RSPCA care centres.
A hunt master let a young foxhound become so horrifically emaciated she could barely stand, magistrates heard on 29/4/04. Stephen Parkin (42) of North Road, Whitemoor, Cornwall allowed an 11-month-old bitch, to almost starve to death. She was reduced to a “bag of bones” and was found on the verge of collapse weighing less than two stone. Liskeard magistrates’ were told the dog was also kept in filthy conditions, with sodden, urine-soaked bedding. Parkin has admitted causing unnecessary suffering while he was Master and Kennelman of South Cornwall Hunt. Parkin initially denied the charge, but changed his plea at an earlier hearing. He quit the hunt after the RSPCA launched an investigation into allegations of cruelty. The court was told members folded the hunt, which had a 30-year tradition in Cornwall, after his resignation. Officers from the RSPCA visited the hunt’s Woodland Barton Kennels after a tip-off from a member of the public. The court was told the foxhound had sores in her mouth, and was bleeding slightly from her anus, both attributed to malnutrition. Parkin had been Master of the Hunt for nine years, and Kennel Master-Huntsman for six years. On 6/5/04 he was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £200 and banned from keeping dogs for five years.
A Curry County jury on 29/4/04 found Fernando Garcia (20) innocent of second-degree murder but was convicted of dogfighting, a felony carrying a maximum penalty of 18 months in state prison. The incident which left Moises Ortiz dead by gunshot occurred during a dogfight at Ortiz’s home in south Clovis. Fernando Garcia’s father Richard still faces charges of dogfighting and assault with intent to commit a violent felony in connection with the same incident.
Huntsman Jonathan Broise will appear for trial at Lewes Crown Court on 2510/04 where he is charged with causing Actual Bodily Harm. Broise appeared for a plea and directions hearing on 27/5/04 at Lewes Crown Court and pleaded not guilty. The case has arisen from an incident during a cub hunt of the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray hunt at when Broise is alleged to have ridden into a 60-year-old anti-hunt protester. Broise was arrested on the 27/9/03 but in connection to another alleged assault on a protester. Broise “resigned” as huntsman of The Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray Foxhounds a week later.
The former Master of the Cheshire Hunt, Thomas Randle Cooke of Pigeon House Farm, Handley, admitted two counts of moving cattle without the relevant passports, failing to keep a register showing the movements of a beast and re-tagging cattle without notifying the relevant government department. Cooke was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs by Chester magistrates on 9/7/04. The matters relating to Cooke came to light as a result of investigations into cattle dealer Robin Arden from Tarporley which resulted in Arden receiving a £10,000 fine, with £2,500 costs, after appearing before Northwich magistrates on 18 charges.
A hunter who blew a hole in a family home while hunting rabbits with a shotgun in a town centre at 3am when intoxicated has been fined €500. On 9/9/04 Timothy Coakley from Inchigeelagh, Co.Cork pleaded guilty to the charge of reckless endangerment with a firearm when he appeared before Cork Circuit Criminal Court. He admitted that he had been trying to shoot rabbits along the main street of Dunmanway when he accidentally blasted the family
home. No one was injured although the family was shocked at the near miss.
A Whitehill man is due before magistrates on 21/7/04 after RSPCA officers smashed a cockfighting ring. James Stephen Keet (28) of Firgrove, Bordon, was one of nine men charged after animal welfare officers raided a barn near Chichester in April 2004.
The Black Combe Beagles have lost a court action over the care of two of the hunt’s beagles. Borrowdale fellrunner Billy Bland and his wife Mary successfully argued at Whitehaven County Court in July 2004 that the Black Combe Beagles, based at Waberthwaite, Cumbria had failed to respect an agreement that they could have safe custody of two beagles they had cared for in the off-season. The Blands from Mountain View, Borrowdale took the legal action as they said they had been concerned about the welfare of beagles. The couple looked after the dogs from March to August when the hounds are not hunting. But because of their concerns to ensure the hounds’ long term welfare they drew up an agreement with the hunt for the dogs return to them after their hunting days were over. In the county court action the case was brought against Stan Ellwood and Bruce Porter, master and chairman of the Black Combe Beagles. Mary Bland said after the case: “We act as walkers for the hounds in the off-season. You get attached to the dogs and we paid vets bills and feeding. Thanks to the judge we have got one back, but we were told the other had been ‘put down’ by a kennels in Ireland. But we do not accept that version and we may use the £200 we were awarded to go over to Ireland to try and find out more. “ Bruce Porter, chairman of the Beagles said any comment should come through their solicitors, but he rejected any claims that the beagles were not cared for at the Waberthwaite hunt kennels.
A hunt supporter from North Yorkshire was cleared of driving his car into a puddle to drench two animal rights campaigners and a child with icy water as they protested at a New Years day meet of the Derwent Foxhounds. Colin Pickering (63) of Prospect Place, Thornton-le-Dale, denied driving without reasonable consideration to others when he appeared at Pickering magistrates on 13/8/04.
A gamekeeper who admitted poisoning birds of prey in one of the country’s worst wildlife crimes has kept his job. Stephen Muir (38) pleaded guilty to placing poison pellets in the countryside on the Barns Estate at Kirkton Manor in the Borders, with the intention of killing wild birds. Muir was given a £2500 fine for each of those charges and a further £500 fine for endangering wildlife – a total of £5500. On 26/8/04 he was admonished at Peebles Sheriff Court, sitting in Selkirk, on a fourth charge of being in possession of the poisonous substance carbofuran. Although suspended from the £900-a-month post he has held for 17 years while Wemyss and March Estates conducts its own disciplinary process, Muir is still employed at the estate carrying out tree and ground maintenance. He was initially charged in connection with the death of 25 wild birds.
A hunter who shot a leading wildlife expert after mistaking his night-vision binoculars for a fox’s eyes was cleared of assault on 27/8/04. Anthony Burns (52) from Prestwood, Buckinghamshire, was out “lamping” for foxes late one night last year when he shot and seriously injured journalist Trevor Lawson. Aylesbury crown court heard Lawson had been looking for barn owls along a footpath through farmland when he was shot in the chest with a hunting bullet designed to disintegrate inside the body of an animal to kill it more effectively. The court heard Mr Lawson spent two days in intensive care, lost a lung and still has part of the bullet under his skin. Burns had two decades of shooting experience, including “lamping” – a form of night hunting using a red filtered light which is difficult for the fox to see – without incident. Under an arrangement with the farmer on whose land the accident happened, Burns and a group of friends rear pheasants in pens and organise small-scale shoots. With the farmer’s permission, he and his two fellow lampers would go on periodic expeditions to shoot foxes.
On 31/8/04 the Tiverton Staghounds paid £500 to the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) in an out-of-court settlement over the shooting of a stag in a sanctuary belonging to the league. The hunt and the LACS have been in dispute about the fate of the stag since the incident at the LACS sanctuary at Morebath near Bampton in October 2002.
Assistant quarry manager Robert Sims of Perry Grove Road, Coleford in Gloucester, destroyed more than 30 sand martin nests during two incidents. The birds had been nesting in sand that had been stockpiled for several weeks and were probably still incubating eggs when machinery ripped the sandface down. Sims pleaded guilty to two charges of nest destruction at Hereford magistrates on 8/12/03. He was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £65 costs.
A former pigeon fancier was convicted of deliberately running over a sparrowhawk when he saw it trying to kill a pigeon in the car park. Jonathan Watson (19) of Carrington Terrace, Llanrwst in North Wales, pleaded guilty to possession of a wild sparrowhawk, but not guilty to intentionally killing it at Llandudno magistrates on 19/1/04. Watson was seen to get out of the car and throw the dead raptor in the boot. The magistrates found Watson guilty of intentionally killing the hawk. After taking account of his age, he was fined £200 and ordered to pay £120 costs.
Michael Tune of Burleigh Road, Loughborough, Leicestershire, started to shoot at mallards on the Nanpanton reservoir, near Loughborough, with an air rifle. He fired about five times as he made his way along the bank and, on one occasion, the pellet was seen to ricochet off a metal post and nearly strike a fisherman. A dead duck was seen in the water but could not be recovered. On 28/1/04 Tune pleaded guilty to possession of a loaded air weapon in a public place and attempting to kill a mallard. He was fined £400 for the air weapon charge and £350 for attempting to kill a mallard and ordered to pay £55 costs.
A shooting estate manager who claims he was ordered by the former husband of Lady Dale “Kanga” Tryon to shoot a golden eagle when the peer bought over the estate, has launched a battle for compensation. Ian Thomas, who worked as estate manager for Fordie Estate, near Comrie, in Perthshire, said he was branded a troublemaker after threatening to report Lord Tryon to the Wildlife Commission, the Forestry Commission and the police. Thomas, who had worked on the 6,000-acre estate for 16 years, told an employment tribunal yesterday that his career was left in ruins after he threatened to blow the whistle on Lord Tryon’s plans. He said he believed the peer had instructed him to shoot the golden eagle. He said he was told by the peer, who had been married to Prince Charles’s close friend, Kanga, for 24 years before they divorced, that the protected birds had “no place” on the estate. And he claimed he was constructively dismissed after he made it clear that he would not go along with the peer’s plans for the exclusive hunting estate. Thomas said the peer, who had the shooting lease for the estate but had not taken full ownership of it yet, had also talked about using poison on the estate in a way that gave him cause for concern. Thomas made his complaint official when in June 2000 he wrote to Harp Farm Ltd saying that he felt “morally obliged” to speak to the Forestry Commission, the Wildlife Commission and the police. Lord Tryon, who’s late wife was nicknamed Kanga by Prince Charles and who died of blood poisoning in 1997, is defending the case.
A nightclub doorman was fined for illegally keeping wild birds in his home. Adnan Icel (39) of Crescent, Southend, nicknamed the Iceman and one of Southend’s best-known doormen, had his home raided. They found nine goldfinches and was charged with illegally keeping the animals which died soon after they were seized. He pleaded not guilty but was convicted of the offence at Southend magistrates on 6/5/04. He was ordered to pay £1,500 and serve 120 hours of community service.
A man is being investigated by the RSPCA after a raid on 14/5/04 in which 36 wild birds were discovered caged in his back garden. Hakan Gulcicek (27) of Ludlow Road, Blacon, Cheshire has informally admitted taking and possessing various types of finches, which appeared stressed and agitated. Gulcicek says he did not know the practice was illegal because it is allowed in his home country of Turkey. A sticky perch with a decoy bird was used to trap the birds, which was seized along with the birds and cages. The birds will be released in due course after they have been properly logged and health checks carried out.
A man was charged on 31/5/04 in connection with what is thought to be the worst case of wildlife crime in Scotland. Following a two-month investigation into the discovery of 25 dead protected birds on a country estate, a 38-year-old man is due to face court. He has been charged with six offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, including the poisoning of birds of prey. Conservationists were horrified at the discovery of 22 buzzards, a tawny owl, a heron and a goshawk on the Barns Estate, run by Wemyss and March Estates, near Peebles.
A gamekeeper charged with what is believed to be Scotland’s worst wildlife crime appeared in court on 9/6/04. Stephen Philip Muir (39) made no plea at Peebles Sheriff Court against the charges of poisoning 24 birds of prey. The case was continued for two weeks.
Matthew Gonshaw (41) notorious in wildlife crime has won the first leg of an appeal against a conviction for disturbing a golden eagle at a nest in the Western Isles. Gonshaw should have been acquitted by a sheriff because of insufficient identification evidence, appeal court judges ruled in a split decision on 29/6/04. But Gonshaw will still have to convince the Justiciary Appeal Court that the mistake led to a miscarriage of justice before he can have the conviction quashed. Within six months of his trial at Lochmaddy Sheriff Court, Gonshaw was found guilty of a number of charges of stealing the eggs of rare birds and became the first person to be jailed for wildlife crimes in Scotland. Gonshaw, from London, was accused of disturbing a golden eagle while it was building a nest, or while it was in, on or near a nest containing eggs or young in April 2001. Gonshaw was also accused of possessing articles capable of being used in the theft of eggs. Police had found a rope, binoculars and a map of the area with marks on it when he was questioned two days later at a hostel on South Uist. Gonshaw was found guilty of both offences. He was fined £500 for disturbing the golden eagle, and £150 for possessing the articles. At the appeal court, it was argued that the sheriff had been wrong to repel the “no case to answer” submission. At a further hearing, on a date yet to be fixed, the appeal court will consider whether the erroneous rejection of the “no case to answer” submission, as it is now held to have been, resulted in a miscarriage of justice or whether Gonshaw’s convictions should nonetheless be allowed to stand. In 2002, Gonshaw was jailed for three months at Thames magistrates, east London, after being found guilty of stealing six chough eggs from Colonsay, two red-throated diver eggs from North Uist, three dotterel eggs from the Cairngorms and four marsh harrier eggs from Kent. At that time, an offender could not be jailed north of the Border for wildlife crime, and Gonshaw was the first to go to prison for wildlife offences committed in Scotland.
Police officers who discovered the butchered remains of a swan in a man’s flat had to struggle to avoid being sick. They found the severed head and feet of the swan outside the flat of John Partridge (26) of Amhurst Crescent, Barry. Two large knives covered in feathers were also found in the flat of Partridge. At Barry magistrates on 7/7/04 Partridge was sentenced to 100 hours community punishment. He had previously pleaded guilty to possessing and handling a dead swan.
On 13/7/04 Kevin Fitzpatrick (33) Castle Lawns, Tallaght, Dublin was been jailed by Kilmainham District Court for savagely beating and killing a swan. Fitzpatrick appeared for sentencing after being convicted on a previous occasion of cruelly ill-treating the bird and of two public order offences. Fitzpatrick killed the swan by strangling it. The defendant had 29 previous convictions. He was sentenced to two month’s imprisonment under the Protection of Animals Act and to four months for breaching the peace. He was also fined €100.
On 22/7/04 Perth Sheriff Court dropped the case at against. David Campbell (55) and Neil Smith (22) both of Aberfeldy, after they denied a total of nine charges relating to the use of poisoned baits and bird cruelty. A spokeswoman for the Crown Office admitted the time taken to prepare the case for a trial had been a major factor in the decision to scrap it. Michael Campbell, who rents Edradynate House to shooting parties for £2,500 upwards, was unavailable for comment.
Two brothers who admitted possessing live wild birds were given community rehabilitation orders by Bishop Auckland magistrates on 31/8/04. An RSPCA inspector found four caged birds and baited traps when he raided the home of John Dugdale (44) in Shafto Street, Byers Green, County Durham. His brother David Dugdale (54) of Beverley Court, Jarrow, South Tyneside, admitted owning one, a male bullfinch, at an earlier hearing at Bishop Auckland magistrates’ court. He was given a one-year order when the case resumed. And John Dugdale, who pleaded guilty to keeping a male and female bullfinch, a male lesser redpoll and a male siskin, was ordered to complete a two-year order. The brothers must also each pay £500 costs. John Dugdale has been convicted of ten similar offences in December 2001.
A Silloth farmer has been fined after letting a wound on his Shetland pony become infected with maggots. RSPCA officials say the maggots had been in the deep cut on John Sails’s pony for seven to 10 days. John Sail of Cowfold Farm, Aldoth, was fined £100 and ordered to pay £500 costs. Sails used a thin rope to tie up his Shetland pony. The rope then rubbed against the animal causing the deep cut. But the RSPCA is disappointed Carlisle magistrates did not ban him from keeping animals. Now the four-year-old animal is being cared for by new owners. On 13/5/04 Carlisle magistrates found Salis guilty of causing the pony unnecessary suffering by failing to provide him with suitable care and attention.
A woman whose horse suffered “horrific” injuries has been banned from keeping the animals for 15 years. Caroline Courtney-Wiles (55) of Lower Trevithiac Farm, St Clether, north Cornwall, was fined £250 and ordered to pay £1,666 costs. She pleaded guilty at Bodmin magistrates on 1/7/04 to causing unnecessary suffering. The horse is now well and is being cared for by the International League for the Protection of Horses.
Sandra Tubman (37) of Red Lonning, Cumbria was convicted of cruelty to horses which she allowed to become starved, has lodged an appeal against the verdict. At Whitehaven magistrates on 15/7/04 Tubman was banned for life from keeping any animals and ordered her to complete 200 hours of community punishment and pay £400 costs. At a previous hearing Tubman had pleaded not guilty, but then left the court without offering her own evidence. At that hearing she was found guilty in her absence with the RSPCA prosecuting the case. Evidence was previously heard that RSPCA officials found horses and ponies either dead or suffering emaciation and lice infestations at Tubman’s Hensingham stable. The charge of causing cruelty to the dead horse was withdrawn because of lack of evidence, but four cases were found proven.
A farmer from Beoley was one of three men jailed after smuggling two million counterfeit cigarettes into the UK. Craig Attwell (37) of Seafield Farm, was given a 14-month prison term for his role in the plot – which saw an estimated £276,240 of duty evaded by the culprits. Hereford Crown Court was told Attwell and John Nuttall (51) HGV driver from Preston, were arrested in Beoley when Attwell unloaded ten pallets of unmarked boxes from a lorry which Nuttall had just driven from Italy via Dover. An examination of the boxes by customs officers then revealed they contained counterfeit Regal cigarettes. Subsequent investigations also revealed that Francis Houareau (48) from Birkfield, Aberdeenshire, was an associate of Attwell who had helped with the smuggling of the cigarettes. All three defendants pleaded guilty and Nuttall was sent to prison for 15 months for his part in the offence, while Houareau was given a two-year jail term.
A farmer from Beoley was one of three men jailed after smuggling two million counterfeit cigarettes into the UK. Craig Attwell (37) of Seafield Farm, was given a 14-month prison term for his role in the plot which saw an estimated £276,240 of duty evaded. Hereford Crown Court was told on 31/5/04 Attwell and John Nuttall (51) a HGV driver from Preston, were arrested in Beoley when Attwell unloaded ten pallets of unmarked boxes from a lorry which Nuttall had just driven from Italy. An examination of the boxes revealed they contained counterfeit cigarettes. Subsequent investigations also revealed that Francis Houareau (48) from Birkfield, Aberdeenshire, was an associate of Attwell who had helped with the smuggling of the cigarettes. All three defendants pleaded guilty and Nuttall was sent to prison for 15 months for his part in the offence, while Houareau was given a two-year jail term.
David Moss (38) of Hallam Fields Road, Ilkeston was charged with threatening an RSPCA officer with an air pistol. On 2/7/04 Moss was bailed at Southern Derbyshire magistrates until 6/7/04.
A poultry producer was found not guilty on 25/8/04 at Swaffham magistrates of causing unnecessary suffering, pain and distress to ducks. Kerry Foods had denied the charges, brought by the RSPCA, which involved the firm’s plant at Wood Lane Corner, Little Ellingham, near Attleborough. It was claimed that Kerry Foods had failed to carry out enough checks on 30,000 birds housed in three large sheds during an outbreak of septicaemia. Also that the company had not increased the number of routine checks on the birds, even though they were on medication and the disease was often fatal. When RSPCA officials inspected the premises they found the decomposing bodies of 33 ducks and another 110 dying birds. On the worst day, before the RSPCA inspection, 700 ducks had to be killed.
Farm Animals (Guardians Of The Land – My Arse!!!)
A Bangor-on-Dee farmer was fined £12,000 after being found guilty of three waste offences by Wrexham magistrates on 6/5/04. Richard Henry Brereton of Cottage Gorse Farm was also ordered to pay the £1,750 costs of the Environment Agency. The court was told that when agency officers inspected the land at Cottage Gorse Farm they saw large quantities of waste material deposited on the site. Investigations revealed the waste included rubble, vegetation, cookers, fridges, tyres, tiles, slates, metal, plastics and an exercise bike. During a covert surveillance operation they found vehicles were routinely coming to the site and depositing waste. Brereton admitted allowing hardcore to be brought on to the land but denied allowing the rest of the waste, which he claimed must have been left by gipsies when he wasn’t around. He was fined £8,000 for knowingly permitting the deposit of controlled waste at Cottage Gorse Farm and £2,000 for keeping controlled waste on the land. He was fined a further £2,000 for disposing of controlled waste by burning.
Scores of dead and dying sheep were found littering fields used by a Northumberland farmer after animal health inspectors were alerted by the RSPCA. More than 70 skeletal remains and decomposing carcases were discovered by council officials during checks on land owned or rented by Leslie Morrison. Live sheep and cattle were grazing next to dead animals. Four emaciated sheep had to be humanely destroyed to stop any further suffering. On 3/6/04 Hexham magistrates ordered Leslie Morrison (49) of Northside Cottages, Ryal, near Matfen, to pay fines and costs totalling £5,268. But they rejected a prosecution call for him to be banned from keeping sheep. He admitted 28 offences of cruelty to animals, failing to dispose of animal by-products correctly, allowing animals access to animal by-products and breaching regulations on tagging, registration and movement of livestock. The court was told that 18 months ago magistrates had ordered Morrison to pay £1,750 in fines and costs after he admitted 17 offences of failing to dispose of animal by-products and allowing animals access to by-products.
A dairy farmer convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to some of his cows told a court he had become weighed down by red tape. Peter Westaway of Welsbere Farm, Poughill, pleaded guilty to six counts of causing unnecessary. At Cullompton magistrates on 22/6/04 Westaway was given a 30-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £434.27 costs.
At Swansea Crown Court in June 2004, Carmello Gale a farmer from Llandysul farmer was sentenced for operating an illegal slaughterhouse. Gale was given a six month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £3,000 prosecution costs.
On 25/8/04 farmer Bill Hinton of Knypersley Farm, Stanley heard he will not be prosecuted following a trading standards probe into the health and living conditions of poultry and animals he sells direct to the public. Animal Aid demanded the closure of Fancy Feathers at Stanley Bank, near Endon, after carrying out an undercover investigation. They sent photographs and a report to Staffordshire County Council detailing concerns about the health and living conditions of poultry, rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs. Hinton, former head of the now defunct WH Hinton Saab and Vauxhall dealerships in North Staffordshire and a haulage company, has lived at Knypersley Farm for 32 years. He confirmed today that he was already selling parts of the Fancy Feathers business. “I’ve got somebody coming in to look at the egg-laying side. Hinton began Fancy Feathers after stopping raising cattle. He has also sold his stud bull business.
The case against farmer Jonathan Hamlet (38) of Kirkbank, Ruthwell Station, near Annan who is accused of causing unnecessary suffering to his animals has been continued without plea by the Sheriff at Dumfries on 28/8/04 at the request of the defence. He also faces charges under the Protection of Animals Act, the Welfare of Animal Regulations, and the Disposal of Animal By-Products Act of being the owner of 120 sheep and 30 cattle and failing to ensure they were fed a wholesome diet appropriate to their exposure and adverse weather conditions. And it is also alleged he failed to dispose of the skeletal remains of 12 sheep and the carcass remains of five sheep. The alleged offences are said to have taken place at Hazelbank Farm at Collin, near Dumfries. The case was continued to 15/9/04.
Anthony Walker (42) of Anchor Lane, Skegness, was convicted of animal cruelty after dragging a German shepherd dog from a neighbour’s home to fight his Staffordshire bull terrier in his garden. Walker pleaded not guilty to cruelly ill treating a German shepherd when he appeared at Coventry magistrates on 9/4/04 with co-defendant Kyle McKusker (18) of Warden Road, Radford, Coventry. McKusker was found not guilty. Walker was fined £400 and banned from being in charge of a dog for two years.
Martin White (19) of John Street Derry was jailed for throwing a cocker spaniel dog over Londonderry’s city walls. White was sentenced to 11 months imprisonment on 19/4/04 for a number of offences including ill treatment of an animal. He was filmed on CCTV cameras having an argument with a woman who was walking a dog at Magazine Gate in the city. He picked up the dog and threw it over the city walls, dropping up to 25 feet on the other side. The dog managed to escape without any broken bones and has made a complete recovery. He was given the maximum three-month sentence for ill treatment of an animal. White was sentenced to a total of 11 months, for offences including ill treatment of an animal, criminal damage and disorderly behaviour and assaults on police officers.
A man who armed himself with a samurai sword and an air rifle to break into an RSPCA shelter to retrieve his dog has been jailed for 15 months. Paul Lovie (47) of Rose Street, York, remained holed up at the shelter for one and a half hours. York Crown Court were told on 26/5/04 how Lovie had been devastated when his dog was taken ill and needed to be put down. The RSPCA confiscated the dog after Lovie had been heard saying he would “do it himself with a pickaxe.” The court heard how Lovie had armed himself with a samurai sword, air rifle and pellets, lighter fluid and a hammer before breaking into the shelter in York. He appeared for sentence after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence, having an offensive weapon, and causing criminal damage.
A Canning Town man was jailed for six weeks for beating his dog with a metal pole after the animal wet his floor. The attack knocked a tooth out of a Staffordshire bull terrier, and the dog was in so much pain from two severely bruised ears the vet could not examine them. Jermain Kamara of Rowland Court, Beaconsfield Road, was also banned for life from keeping any animal by magistrates at Stratford on 29/5/04.
A Cumbrian dog dealer is at the centre of a cruelty investigation after nine puppies left in the back of his car almost baked alive. John Walsh of Denton Hall Farm, Low Row is alleged to have left the pups crammed into two small dog baskets in sweltering heat while he went on a day-trip to the Channel Islands. All nine of the dogs were suffering from heat exhaustion and one was found to be close to death. (also see)
On 3/7/04 Derek Ian Ford (50) of Orchard Cottage, Gosforth was sentenced to three months in prison for slitting his dogs throat in a horrific attack in front of his partner and two children. Ford slit the throat of his Border Collie who he had taken on just a week before. The backlash in the village was so bad that Ford received hate mail and was forced to move away to Cheshire for a while. He also stabbed the animal several times before inflicting the killer wound. In addition to his prison sentence, he was given a life-long ban from keeping animals. Ford was bitten by a police dog and sprayed with CS gas as he was arrested.
David and Marie Bradford of Hill Farm Close, Fitton Hill in Oldham wept in court as they were jailed for starving a young dog. The alsatian pup was just half its normal body weight and looked like a walking skeleton when RSPCA officials called at the couples’ home. But the dog, has bounced back to full health. David and Marie Bradford pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering when they appeared before Oldham magistrates on 9/7/04. The court was told that they had also breached a two-year disqualification order from keeping animals for earlier cruelty to two rottweilers David Bradford (33) was jailed for 10 weeks and his wife Marie (25) was sentenced to nine weeks. They were also banned for life from keeping animals.
Stephen Ruane (43) of Castlemilk Drive, Castlemilk stabbed his heavily pregnant dog to death before burying the her in nearby woods was jailed for three months. Ruane took his temper out on the Collie after he had been involved in a row with friends. Ruane admitted to the sickening attack at a previous court appearance. At Glasgow Sheriff Court on 28/7/04 they heard how Ruane stabbed the animal with a kitchen knife at his partner’s flat. He was also banned from owning an animal for ten years.
A Somerset woman was jailed for six months on 10/8/04 for cruelty to animals. Angela Nelmes (30) from Bridgwater and now living in Taunton, was convicted in July of causing unnecessary suffering to two dogs. She was jailed by Bridgwater magistrates and banned for life from keeping animals. One of the mistreated animals, a Doberman, died of starvation and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier had to be put down. It was found by the RSPCA, who nursed it back to health but it had to be put down because of “severe problems.”
A Yorkshire terrier was repeatedly kicked with such force that a vet said the dog looked like it had been run over by a car. Dean Brayson (23) of Fillingham Close, Chelmsley Wood, Birmingham claimed the dog had bitten him on the hand and he described it as a “nasty little dog.” Brayson pleaded guilty at Birmingham magistrates on 25/8/04 to attacking the dog. The case was adjourned for reports.