Three men appeared before Selby magistrates on 16/4/12 charged with digging for badgers. Before the court were Lee Whinfrey, 28, Nathan Whinfrey, 25, and Richard Whinfrey, 43, all of Carcroft in Doncaster. All were charged with interfering with badger setts, hunting a wild mammal with dogs and digging for badgers. Richard Whinfrey is also charged with causing unnecessary suffering to Jake, and failing to ensure the welfare of the dog. The defendants were admitted to conditional bail – not to enter North Yorkshire unless attending court – until a three-day trial at Selby from 29/8/12.
Two men accused of digging for badgers were cleared of all charges by a judge on 25/4/12. Keith Williams Keith, of Ty Cerrig bungalow, Bethel Road, Caernarfon and friend Dennis Dwayne Williams, of Llys Tryfan, Caernarfon, both 31, at Llandudno magistrates had denied the offence and also pleaded not guilty to attempting to take a badger and interfering with badger setts.
Three men appeared in court over alleged badger baiting. The defendants are all accused of causing unnecessary suffering to a terrier dog and badger and interfering with a badger sett. At Newtownards magistrates on 30/4/12 were Graham Arthur Officer, 40, from Rose Park, Donaghadee and brothers Chris and Ryan Kirkwood, aged 21 and 19, from Island Street, east Belfast. Another defendant did not appear in court for medical reasons. He is Darren Millar, 39, from Rainey Way Belfast. Ryan Kirkwood is also charged with resisting police. The accused are to appear in court again on 8/6/12.
Anthony Lee urged his dog to attack and kill badgers and kept footage of the fights on his phone has been jailed. A magistrate wiped away tears while watching three videos of animal fights that Lee recorded. Lee, 23, of Coronation Way, Keighley, West Yorkshire, admitted three counts of animal fighting and was jailed for 23 weeks at Bradford magistrates on 22/5/12. The RSPCA said the case was “as bad as one can get” and described Lee’s actions as “twisted and sick”. In the first video played to the court, a badger could be heard squealing alongside the sound of laughter from Lee and another person. The second video showed a badger being killed after being shaken around in Lee’s dog’s mouth while another dog had hold of it. The third video showed a dog fighting a badger in its sett. Lee was given a three-week discount on the maximum sentence the court could hand down because he entered a guilty plea. Lee was also banned from keeping or looking after animals for the rest of his life. Both of his dogs have been re-homed.
Two men who crossed the Border into Scotland on a “hunting expedition” for foxes or badgers escaped a ban on keeping or owning dogs. Ryan Lowe, 30, of Baird Road, Harraby, Carlisle and Brian Sanderson, 40, of West Lane, Shap, were appearing for sentence following a three-day trial in which they were found guilty of deliberately hunting foxes or badgers. They were also found guilty on 31/5/12 of being in possession of items capable of being used for an offence contrary to the Protection of Badgers Act – the electronic equipment, dogs, two spades and two walkie-talkies. Lowe was made the subject of a community payback order with a condition that he carry out 180 hours unpaid work, while the case against Sanderson was continued for three weeks to allow him to produce £1,000 to the court in which case the van worth £2,500 in which they had travelled north, would not be confiscated.
A twisted sadist was jailed after he bred dogs to hunt down and kill foxes and badgers so he could film it for a sick thrill. Richard Atkins from Oversetts Road, Newhall in Derbyshire was sentenced to 24 weeks behind bars after a photo showed him smiling with glee as he held a still live fox by the throat. The 45-year-old, who captured the stomach-churning acts carried out by his dogs for posterity on video, admitted nine charges when he appeared at Burton upon Trent magistrates on 29/6/12. In addition to his prison sentence of nearly six months Atkins also received a lifetime ban on keeping all animals and the forfeiture of all his dogs and equipment used for baiting and hunting. The nine charges he admitted included causing animals to fight, keeping dogs for the purpose of animal fighting, causing unnecessary suffering and animal welfare offences. Atkins, 45, trained his hounds to hunt down and attack wild animals. He then filmed the sickening attacks on a digital video camera which he showed to his pals. They were able to successfully bring the prosecution to court when forensic examination of badger baiting footage seized from a digital video camera proved a voice heard in the background was that of Atkins. The court saw graphic footage of Atkins’s black Patterdale terrier and bull lurcher type dog carrying out attacks on two badgers and a fox in separate incidents. In another clip a badger is seen having its leg torn off, while men – including Atkins – can be heard laughing in the background. As well as the harrowing clips which showed the wild animals being attacked, the dogs used by Atkins also suffered sickening injuries during the attacks. The defendant admitted that he would attempt to treat his dogs’ injuries at home, rather than take them to a vet and raise suspicion. Both the Patterdale terrier and bull lurcher seen in the footage were found at Atkins’ home when a warrant was carried out by police and the RSPCA. The Patterdale terrier had suffered huge injuries to its jaw and it was partially blind in one eye. Four other dogs – also believed to have been bred for fighting and hunting – were seized during the warrant, along with paraphernalia, digging equipment and search lights.
More on Richard Atkins – Taken from Vermin Patrol 1999 – Two Derbyshire men found guilty of digging for a badger have been jailed for two months. Lee Robert Burton (25) of Tower Road, Hartshorne and Richard Alan Atkins (31) of Elmsleigh Green, Swadlincote were found guilty on 23/3/99 of digging for a badger after a five-day trial at Coalville magistrates. Burton threatened an officer with a spade he was carrying when arrested. Three dogs were found on the site and they all had scratches on their faces. A dead badger was found at the scene and the body was still warm. When they were taken back to their house there was a concrete badger on the front garden which all three dogs immediately attacked. Both men were sentenced to two months in prison. Magistrates ordered all equipment recovered by police to be destroyed and disqualified both men from owning a dog for three years. The three dogs had since been found new homes.
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. Following a three-day trial at Cambridge magistrates, they were found not guilty on 26/7/12 and have each been cleared of all three charges. William, of Field Crescent, Royston, and Ricky, of Willowside Way, Royston, William Crotty said outside court “On the day in question we were on a farmer’s field, with his permission, in pursuit of foxes, which is entirely legal. 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.
Six members of the same family appeared in court along with others charged with almost 200 counts of animal cruelty. Samuel and Cathy Kirkwood, from Parkgate Crescent, east Belfast, appeared with their sons: Chris, Ryan, Wayne and Gary, from Island Street. Two other men also face charges. They are Daniel Scott from Tower Court and Jamie Morrowfrom McAllister Court, Belfast. The charges follows a police operation at the Kirkwoods’ home. A number of dogs were taken away by the USPCA in the operation. Officers also removed equipment, mobile phones and computers from the house and an adjoining yard. On 2/8/12 they faced a range of charges at Belfast magistrates including causing unnecessary suffering to animals, attending animal fights, having equipment to be used in animal fights, photographing and video recording animal fights and disturbing a badger sett.
Thomas Marvell, 25, was jailed and banned for keeping dogs for 10 years after an RSPCA investigation into badger baiting. Marvell was sentenced on two charges under the Protection of Badgers Act. He was ordered to serve 10 weeks in custody for killing a badger and another six weeks for possessing a dog for baiting. The court ordered both sentences should run consecutively. His home on Vicars Walk, Worksop, was searched and a brown terrier was seized along with hunting paraphernalia. A second man, Mel Gibson, 21, of Shrewsbury Road, Worksop – was also investigated and three dogs were discovered at his home, including one, which had an untreated septic hole in the side of its face. GIbson was given a 12- month conditional discharge and banned from keeping dogs for five years when he too was sentenced at Worksop magistrates on 7/9/12. He was also ordered to pay £150 costs after admitting one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to Smudge by failing to get the dog’s injuries treated by a vet.
A farmer was sentenced by Scarborough magistrates on 26/9/12 after he pumped 5,000 gallons of slurry into a badger sett. Malcolm Brian Foster, of Grange Farm, Bulmer, near Malton, was found guilty of recklessly damaging an active badger sett. He was fined £500 with a £15 victim surcharge and £700 costs. Magistrates heard how Foster, a tenant cattle farmer on land which is part of the Castle Howard estate, pumped the liquid cattle slurry into an active badger sett.
Three men admitted interfering with a badger sett and causing unnecessary suffering to a dog. Chesterfield magistrates heard on 5/10/12 how a terrier-type dog got facial injuries after entering a sett. Barry Scott, 23, of Norman Crescent, Sunnyfields, Doncaster; Liam Smith, 21, of Denaby Avenue, Conisbrough; and Daniel Davey, 21, of Manor Court, Denaby, pleaded guilty on the basis that the offences resulted from reckless behaviour rather than deliberate intent. The trio also denied digging for a badger, attempting to kill, injure or take a badger, attempting to cause an animal fight and unnecessary suffering to three other dogs. The case was adjourned to 10/10/12 for a trial to be fixed. They will be sentenced for the admitted offences following the trial.
A Kirriemuir gamekeeper admitted illegal trapping an owl in a cage trap. Robert Christie, 58, of Lindertis Estate, Airlie, pled guilty to the offence, which occurred in 2010, and was admonished at Forfar Sheriff Court on 4/4/12. The tawny owl suffered an injury to its beak and was extremely thin as the trap contained no food. The bird received immediate vet treatment and has been released successfully back into the wild.
A Llanbedr hunt master was fined £3,500 for ‘losing’ two guns and leaving a pistol in his car. Alan Owen, 63, of Glandŵr Cottages, Llanbedr, who is the Llanbedr Master of the Hounds, pleaded guilty at Dolgellau magistrates court on 19/4/12 to three charges of failing to comply with the conditions of a shotgun and firearm certificate regulations. Police officers attended at Owen’s home to check that the shotguns and firearms were kept under lock and key and complied with the regulations. They discovered that a pistol was missing and Owen said that it was in the glove compartment of his car. When the police asked about three other guns Owen said that he knew where they were, one was in the lounge that was due to be cleaned and the other two were upstairs, but when he went to get the two guns upstairs they had gone.
John Winn Roberts, 43, of Woodend Meadow, Ballymagorry, Strabane, Northern Ireland, who was accused of intentionally injuring a wild bird (a buzzard) on the Isle of Wight appeared at the island magistrates on 25/4/12. He pled guilty to shooting a buzzard and was fined £400 plus costs.
Gamekeeper John Bycroft (67), who is the terrier man to the Fitzwilliam Hunt, was found with another man using terriers to flush foxes from underground dens. But he fell foul of the law after putting a live pregnant vixen in a tiny barrel because he “didn’t have the heart” to shoot her. Police came across the two men only after being alerted to the sound of shooting in a field Spalding magistrates heard on 3/5/12. Officers found Bycroft and Jamie Round (24) nearby with an open horsebox with a plastic barrel inside. The barrel measured just 75cms high and 30cms across and contained a live fox. The court heard Bycroft intended to release the fox elsewhere, but police ordered her to be freed on the spot. Bycroft, of Weston Hills Road, Low Fulney, denied one offence under the Hunting Act 2004 and one under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, but both were proved at the end of a two day RSPCA prosecution. He was ordered to pay a total of £2,065 – comprising fines of £525 for each offence, £1,000 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. Round, of Penny Hill, Holbeach, denied identical offences. He was acquitted of the Hunting Act charge but found guilty of the Welfare Act charge, which involved confining the fox in a barrel with insufficient light, space, ventilation and a suitable environment to exhibit normal behaviour. Round was fined £165 and must pay £100 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. The court heard that Bycroft had written consent to be on the neighbouring land.
Three members of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt, were convicted of pursuing a fox illegally with hounds at Haywards Heath magistrates on 14/5/12. Andrew Phillis, Neill Millard and Rachel Holdsworth were convicted for breaching the hunting ban on different occasions in 2011. Charges against a fourth member of the hunt were dropped during the trial. All three had denied the charges, saying they were out trail hunting — following an artificially laid scent – and did not plan to hunt or kill any foxes. Andrew Phillis, 50, now of Halwell, Totnes, Devon, who was formerly the Crawley and Horsham’s huntsman, and Rachel Holdsworth, of Rock Road, Washington, near Storrington, the hunt’s secretary, were found guilty for hunting illegally. Phillis, Holdsworth and Neill Millard, 44, of Dragons Lane, Shipley, near Horsham were found guilty of the same offences. Phillis was acquitted of another offence. Holdsworth was fined £500 for each of the two offences and ordered to pay £2,500 costs. Millard, the founder of a wealth management firm in the City, was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £2,500 costs. Phillis will be sentenced on a date to be fixed.
|Andrew Phillis||Rachel Holdsworth||Neill Millard|
Police were lying in wait for a farmer who had enjoyed a couple of whiskies and then driven home after a day hunting a court has heard. David Arthur Evans, 60, was on his way home to Border Farm, Sandyway, South Molton in his Mitsubishi Shogun when he was stopped by police. He was found to have 85 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35. He pleaded guilty to drink driving when he appeared before North Devon magistrates on 11/5/12. Evans was banned from driving for 18 months and ordered to pay a £300 fine, £15 victim surcharge and £85 costs.
A huntsman who raped a drunk woman after a black-tie ball was jailed for four years on 21/5/12. Former hunt master John Norrish, 68, took advantage of the 33-year-old married mother when he offered to give her a lift home in the early hours of the morning. Norrish, who has been married for 46 years and has two children, claimed she had already removed her knickers and lifted up her ball gown once they were in the vehicle. But the victim, who was a stranger, denied his claims and said she had told him she did not want to have sex. She told the court that she may have passed out in his car after downing 20 alcoholic drinks that night at the annual Tiverton Staghounds hunt ball. Norrish, who has no previous convictions, has a caution for an assault during a hunt altercation. Norrish, who is now retired from is job as huntsman with the Tiverton Staghounds, is still married. He will also be placed on the Sex Offenders’ register for life.
A young huntswoman is facing time behind bars after pleading guilty to two burglaries. Natalie Tongue, 21, from Bromsgrove who is a keen horse rider and is believed to have ridden with the Worcestershire Hunt, systematically stole priceless family heirlooms. The victims said items she lifted included diamond rings and necklaces which had been given to them as wedding gifts or as inheritance. Tongue pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and two counts of dishonesty and making false representations to make a gain at Hereford Crown Court on 20/5/12. She is due to be sentenced in June.
A Winsford man was ordered to pay £50,000 to the RSPCA after being found guilty of charges relating to cockfighting and animal cruelty. Raymond Weedall, 61, of Crook Lane was sentenced at Chester magistrates on 18/5/12 for offences including mutilating cockerels and possessing sharpened metal spurs to attach to birds during fights. He was given a 20 week custodial sentence – suspended for two years – ordered to complete 150 hours community service, banned from owning animals for life and ordered to remain indoors between 6pm-6am for six months. Weedall must pay £20,000 by July 19 and a further £30,000 by May 17 2013. The prosecution follows a joint RSPCA and police raid on Weedall’s home, when police seized more than £15,000 and found dozens of cockerels in Weedall’s care that had had their wattles cut off – a practice common in bird fights. They also seized cockfighting DVDs and metal spurs. Weedall claimed the seized cash was accrued legitimately, and that he was only interested in exhibiting cockerels, but he was found guilty of ten offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. He was also found guilty that, at a property in Dalesford Lane, Winsford, he failed to properly care for 59 cockerels, failed to provide suitable perching for18 cockerels, removed the wattles of 37 cockerels, and kept 37 cockerels for use in animal fights. He also pleaded guilty to keeping a wild goldfinch. He was found not guilty of failing to meet the needs of a black Lurcher-type dog. (See his next apperance in court below)
A gamekeeper left a buzzard to starve to death after it was caught in a trap used for trapping crows. Jonathan Graham, 30, of Foss, was supposed to have dismantled the trap on the Glenlyon Estate, near Pitlochry, Perth Sheriff Court heard on 27/6/12. After the buzzard got trapped, Graham did not open the cage door wide enough to allow the bird to escape. He admitted to failing to inspect the trap every 24 hours as he was obliged to do, leading to the bird’s death. Graham was banned from using trap cages for five years and fined £450.
On 6/7/12 magistrates heard how shotguns were hidden in a milk churn at the home Raymond Weedall. He pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing a shotgun without a certificate of license, and one charge of possessing ammunition without a license. The raid uncovered six shotguns and 87 round of live ammunition. The ammunition was .22 calibre, but no rifle able to fire the bullets was uncovered. The court heard Weedall had held shotgun licenses since he was 19. He had licenses for three of the guns found in his posession. Weedall was ordered to forfeit his shotguns, given a two year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £1,200 court costs.
A South Pembrokeshire Hunt supporter, arrested but not charged after a protester claimed she had been shot in the head, was jailed for firearms offences. Steven Barrett, 66, of St Clears, Carmarthenshire, had a sawn-off rifle and ammunition inside his van, Swansea Crown Court was told on 20/7/12. He admitted several fire arms offences. Due to his poor health, he was given a three-and-a-half year jail term instead of the minimum of five years. The court heard how the hunt gathered in a clearing in a wood along with several hunt supporters, travelling in vehicles. An argument took place and one of the protesters, who began to film the scene. His wife then said she had been shot in the head and blood could be seen coming from her forehead. Barrett was stopped as he returned home in his van. Under the front passenger seat officers found a gun that has been illegally modified. Barrett had shortened the barrel and replaced the stock with a pistol grip. Officers also found 10 live rounds of 0.22 ammunition designed to expand on impact. His home was searched and 10 air rifles and six air pistols were found. Police made a thorough search of the clearing and could find no evidence of anyone being shot. Barrett was not charged in relation to the alleged shooting. Barrett, was a former gamekeeper and now a semi-retired farmer. Barrett admitted possessing a rifle with a shortened barrel, illegal ammunition and an overpowered air rifle.
The Heythrop Hunt and its members have denied illegally hunting foxes with dogs. They are being prosecuted by the RSPCA on a 45 count indictment in contravention of the Hunting Act 2004. The Hunt faces nine counts of hunting a wild mammal with a dog across Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. The six-week trial is set to start on 13/12/12 at Bicester magistrates. Huntsman Julian Barnfield, 48, of Kennel Lane, Chipping Norton, was charged with the same nine counts as the hunt. Duncan Hune, 32, also of Kennel Lane, and Joint Master of the Hunt Vanessa Lambert, 29, of Adlestrop, Moreton-in-the-Marsh, each face seven similar charges. A fourth defendant, Richard Sumner, 68, of Penhill Farm, Salperton, Gloucestershire, faces 14 charges.
A hunt master and a member of his staff were found guilty of illegally hunting fox cubs with hounds. Johnny Greenall, 52, and Glen Morris, 43, both pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them after anti-hunt protesters covertly filmed the hunt. On 10/8/12 South Derbyshire magistrates were shown the footage, which showed huntsmen from the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt surrounding a wood. It was alleged the hounds entered the wood to hunt young foxes, in a sport known as “cubbing”. The video footage shows two foxes trying to escape from the wood. One fox is scared back into the wood by the surrounding huntsmen clapping their hands. The pair chose not to give evidence in court. Greenall, of Wootton Hall, Wootton, near Ashbourne, was fined £3,000, ordered to pay £500 costs and a £15 victims surcharge. He paid the sum in full at court yesterday. Morris, of Ludgate Street, Tutbury, is currently off work with depression. He was fined £250, with costs of £250 and a £15 surcharge. He was ordered to pay the sum at £10 per fortnight.
An Argyll farm manager was fined £1,200 on 8/9/12 for being in possession of a deadly poison which has been banned after being linked to the killing of birds of prey. At Oban Sheriff Court Tom McKellar, 50, of Fir Park Cottage, Auch Estate, Bridge of Orchy, pleaded guilty to possessing carbofuran, a pesticide outlawed for more than 10 years. In December 2010, at the High Court in Glasgow, McKellar was convicted of possession of two hand guns, and was sentenced to 300 hours community service.
Two men and three teenagers will go on trial accused of animal cruelty after cats were set up by lurcher dogs in Workington. Daniel James Porter, 18, of Eskdale Crescent, Jamie Atkinson, 19, of Minster Close, a 17-year-old and two 15-year-old boys, have been charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal. They pleaded not guilty at West Cumbria magistrates on 14/9/12 and bailed on condition they are not in custody or control of a dog or cat in a public place. The case was adjourned until 10/12/12.
A car salesman who rides with the Heythrop Hunt, Thomas Edward Hastings Macfarlane of Wootton, Woodstock, Oxfordshire was found guilty of criminal damage at Banbury magistrates on 12/9/12. Whilst a hunt monitor was observing the Heythrop Hunt, Macfarlane approached the rear of her vehicle and used a sharp implement to surreptitiously cut the wall of the rear offside tyre, bursting it and causing it to deflate. This action effectively immobilised the car, preventing them from monitoring the hunt for the rest of the day.
Five members of the Avon Vale Hunt, including a Wiltshire councillor, appeared in court charged with breaching the Hunting Act 2004. Joshua Charlesworth, 18, from East Tytherton; Benjamin Pethers, 28, from Hoopers Pool, Southwick; Stuart Radbourne, 28, from The Common, Bromham; Paul Tylee-Hinder, 58, of Quemerford, Calne and Jonathon Seed, 54, of Chittoe Heath, Bromham all denied the breach when they appeared before magistrates in Chippenham on 25/9/12. Four of them denied an additional charge of intefering with a badger sett, though Radbourne, one of the joint hunt masters, indicated a guilty plea to that charge. The case has been adjourned until 9/11/12. Seed, Wiltshire councillor for Summerham and Seend and a former hunt master, said he intended to fight the allegation against him.