An update from Howl 61, Darren Swanson (25), David Swanson (28) both of Pine Road, East Howle, Ferryhill, Tyne and Wear and Graham Howard (25) of Coniston Road, Ferryhill, Tyne and Wear. They all pleaded guilty to digging for a badger and two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to dogs. On 26/4/96 Durham Magistrates heard who the three were spotted by a motorist at a wood on the outskirts of Durham in May 1995, who then tipped off the police. The police then watched as the three dug up a sett with a pick and shovel. Their three dogs, Sam, Tina and Meg (what, not one called Brock? – that makes a change) were later examined by the RSPCA and a vet, and were found to have suffered injuries. Part of the bottom lip of one of them had been torn away. After all the evidence was read out Stipendiary Magistrate Ian Gillespie said “Civilised society will not countenance such violent behavior which you would no doubt regard as sport”. Mr Gillespie then sentenced all three to 5 months in jail, banned them from keeping dogs for ten years, and ordered the forfeiture of all their equipment.
On 3/7/96 Mark Graham Pavit (23) of 20 Ashley Road, Droylsden, Manchester, Nicky Dixon (22) of 75 Edward Street, Audenshaw, Manchester and Andrew Conboy (27) of 14 Sherwood Avenue, Droylsden, Manchester appeared before Macclesfield Magistrates. They all pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett on 18/12/95 near Wilmslow, Cheshire. A charge of cruelty to a dog was dropped previously by the prosecution. They were caught by the police who saw them standing by a known badger sett with a terrier down the hole, they later told the police they were after foxes (there goes that old story again). On 9/8/96 Macclesfield Magistrates sentenced them to 150 hours community service and were ordered to pay costs of £100 each. They were also banned from keeping dogs for three years and the court ordered the confiscation of their equipment.
Three men from the Midlands were convicted by Oswestry Magistrates on 10/7/96 for interfering with a badger sett after being caught in August 1995 at Maesbrook, near Oswestry. Stuart Anthony Fellows (28) of Pond Lane, Parkfields, Wolverhampton, William John Richards (46) of Harrold Road, Rowley Regis, West Midlands and Stephen James Rogers (33) of Lane Avenue, Walsall, West Midlands had claimed in court they were digging for foxes when Mr Bone (a local resident) heard dogs barking and went to investigate. On arrival, Mr Bone was told that it was a rabbit warren and they were digging for foxes, now where have I heard that before!. Mr Bone then began to take pictures of the men digging, Fellows then proceeded to chase Mr Bone across the field and at one point hit him across the back with a spade. Fellows was also admitted stealing a camera and assaulting Mr Bone. During a search of Fellows house in October 1995 by the RSPCA they found three wildlife traps and a stuffed badger on top of the TV. On 13/8/96 Oswestry Magistrates sentenced Fellows to 4 months for assaulting Mr Bone, 1 month for stealing the camera and 2 months for interfering with a badger sett, all to run concurrently. Richards and Rogers were sentenced to 150 hours community service each and ordered to pay £150 costs each for interfering with a badger sett, they were all banned from keeping dogs for 10 years.
Christopher Rooke (37) of Newton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire who is an amateur terrierman with the York and Ainsty South Fox Hounds was fined £750 with £60 costs by Easingwold Magistrates after admitting interfering with a badger sett. The incident happened during a meet of the York and Ainsty South earlier this year. A local landowner who had fenced off an area of his land which contained a badger sett, felt the fewer people who knew about the it the better. However, later that day the landowner noticed the fence had been broken down and somebody was digging up the sett. Rooke who has 20 years experience an amateur terrierman did not believe it was a sett, he thought it was a rabbit warren, and was told there was a fox down it and it was his job to get the fox out. Mr Darwin, mitigating said: “It wasn’t his intention to harm the badger or the sett and he has expressed his remorse” (Yeah we believe that).
Kevin Gustard (24) of Victoria Terrace, Murton, County Durham admitted three offenses of digging a badger sett on Croxdale estate on 10/9/95. On 6/7/96 Durham Magistrates heard that Gustard was spotted by a local gamekeeper who then phoned for the police, the gamekeeper then made three return trips to the sett after Gustard had disappeared, a puppy could be still heard yapping from inside the sett. The following day Gustard returned with the puppy’s mother, who had been fitted with a tracking device was put into the sett to find it. The police then swooped after being tipped off, Gustard told them he knew it was a badger sett but was trying to retrieve his puppy.
On 9/8/96 Penrith Magistrates found Edwin Russell Dickinson (38) of Town Head Road, Cotehill, Carlisle, who is the terrierman for the Cumberland Farmers F.H. guilty of interfering with a badger sett by causing a dog to enter it, and Peter James McColgan (30) of The Kennels, Welton, Dalston, who is the amateur huntsman for the Cumberland Farmers F.H. guilty of aiding and abetting Dickinson in interfering with a badger sett by causing a dog to enter the sett. The magistrates heard that on 6/12/95 the Cumberland Farmers were out hunting near Penrith when McColgan found that a fox had gone down a hole, he then called over Dickinson. The holes were then blocked and some nets were put over other entrances, a terrier was then entered the holes. Both men admitted in interviews that they had put a terrier down but said the contentious issue was whether they were signs of the sett being an active one. After a trial lasting nearly three days the magistrates found the pair guilty and they were fined £150 each with £250 costs.
The case against Edward Tuckwell of Hampton Estate, Seale, near Aldershot was dismissed after two hours, he was originally charged with interfering with a badger sett at Little Common which is on the Surrey Estate. Defended by Michael Goodridge, Tuckwell pleaded not guilty to the charge, he said he suffered a lot of problems with rabbits on the estate and thought the sett was inhabited by rabbits. He denied he intended to gas the sett.
Cockfighting reared its ugly head again, but this time in the North East, William Ross (49) a butcher of Sharon Avenue, Kelloe, Durham City, admitted causing cocks to fight in a wooden hut he owned on allotments at Kelloe on 19/3/95; using the premises for cockfighting and possessing spurs and other equipment for cockfighting, was sentenced to 4 months. Joseph Kelbie (34) formally of Cottingly Springs, Leeds, now of Turney Lane, Newark, Nottinghamshire who was accompanied by an eight year old boy to the fight was sentenced to 10 weeks and John Hawthorn (42) of Calvert Terrace, Murton, County Durham was sentenced to 8 weeks they both admitted assisting at a cockfight. The magistrate also made an order banning Ross, Kelbie and Hawthorn from owning live cockerels for the rest of their lives. Thomas Waugh(32) of Harlaw Gardens, Catchgate, Annfield Plain was fined £200 with £150 costs: John Bell (27) of Dilks Street, Bishop Auckland was fined £800 with £750 costs and David Littley (34) of Litchfield Road, West Cornforth, County Durham was fined £200 with £150 costs they all admitted being present at a cockfight. Two cocks fitted with spurs were attacking each other in a ring – the 19th bout of 24 listed on a notice calling the event ‘The Durham Derby’ – when the raid took place on an allotment shed in Kelloe near Durham City. Police also recovered the carcasses of 14 dead birds from earlier fights. they also found 34 live birds, of which nine were injured. Also found in the shed was equipment ranging from spurs to spur sharpeners and plasters used to fit spurs to the legs of the birds and scales for weighing them. Paul Williams defending claimed all six men had gathered for an auction but this developed into a cockfighting session.
In early May Wooton Bassett (Wiltshire) Magistrates heard how Richard Lovett (41) of Meysey Hampton, Cirencester, Gloucestershire blocked up a sett on 6/12/95 in readiness for hunting the following day. Mr Lovett is the terrierman for the Vale of White Horse Foxhounds, based at Meysey Hampton. Lovett (who is also a former gamekeeper and Gloucestershire Area Representative for the Fell and Moorland Working Terrier Club) gave evidence for five hours, during which he totally denied having done anything wrong and said he had followed the Masters of Foxhounds Association rules diligently. Many witnesses were called in an attempt to persuade the court that blocking up the sett entrances with lumps of wet, heavy clay did not conflict with the Protection of Badgers Act, which dictates that if earth is used it must consist of ‘loose soil’. The trial lasted for 6 days after which the Chairman of the Bench, Mr Desmond Briggs found Lovett guilty and fined him £100. Lawyers immediately announced they would be lodging an appeal.
On 31/5/96 Alan Burr (18) of Tamworth Road, Fenham, Newcastle admitted burglary and destroying property, and was sent to a young offenders institution for 3 years after what can only be described as a sadistic act of cruelty to a families pet cat. It was revealed in court that Burr had waged a hate campaign against a 17 year old girl from the Byker area of Newcastle. Burr, who had only been out of prison for 17 days (after serving 5 months for another offence), broke into the girls flat last December. He daubed the walls with obscene graffiti then placed the pet cat, Coco, into the oven. When the girl returned to her flat she found the cat had been roasted alive. The RSPCA said they were sickened by the attack. Inspector Ian Smith said “The animal would have gone through excruciating pain before dying. It was burned alive”. The family have now fled the area and are living in Cumbria and Yorkshire, had to receive counseling to help them cope with the trauma.
Stephen Adams (24) of Westgate Avenue, Blackley, Manchester was banned from keeping animals for 20 years and ordered to do 140 hours community service for causing unnecessary suffering to a Staffordshire bull terrier. He was also ordered to pay costs of £160. During the case in April 1996 the court heard how Adams walked into a pub in Collyhurst, Manchester with the bull terrier, blood was oozing from a wound on the dogs neck and it had difficulty in breathing. The landlord of the pub was so shocked by what he saw he rang the RSPCA. Adams claimed he had just bought the dog and had not noticed the fresh wounds.
Two men Leslie Tomlinson (54) of Union Street, Tonge Moor, Bolton and his nephew Mark Tomlinson (20) of Pimlott Road, Hall i’ th’ Wood, Bolton were banned from keeping animals for life and ordered to pay costs of £250 following their appearance at Bolton Magistrates court on 22/5/96 on charges of cruelty to three dogs. Inspector Sarah Hill found the three lurcher type dogs being kept in a seven foot by six foot “shed like construction” at a house in Colmore Street, Hall i’ th’ Wood, Bolton. There was also a strong smell from the shed and the animals were suffering from hair loss and skin complaints. Since the trial one of the dogs has been found a new home and the other two are still waiting in kennels.
A taxidermist who encouraged people to kill some of the world’s rarest creatures was jailed for 2 years after pleading guilty to six charges of illegal trafficking in wildlife that were protected under the CITES convention on endangered species, he also had to pay costs of £8,500. Nicolaas Peters (41) of Wood View, Aberhafesp, near Newtown, mid-Wales. Peters who is Dutch was found to have freezers, an attic and two barns stuffed with more than 500 animals from all over the world when his house was raided. During the trial at Chester Crown Court which end on 9/5/96 the court heard among the specimens in his possession were a Siberian tiger, a ring-tailed lemur and a Philippine eagle, which is one of the most endangered species in the world with only 50 pairs surviving. Some of the specimens were pickled and some frozen ready for preparation for sale to the black market. Peters already has convictions in France and Germany, he was defended by David Whittaker who said after the trial ” His business will suffer irreparable damage after today’s outcome.” (Comment – well that’s tough shit, what about the animals who lost their lives!)
An egg collector was fined £750 after police found hundreds of eggs from rare and endangered birds in his home. Police noticed that Robert Vose (52) of Sunderland, was looking very nervous as the police searched his garage. After a closer look it was found to have a false ceiling and an oven and cooker had false bottoms. 1,275 eggs were found. Vose had eggs belonging to species such as the Ruff, Peregrine Falcon, the Avocet and the Red-backed Shrike. The court was told there were only 10 pairs of breeding Ruffs left in the country.
Three men from West Cumbria have been fined after admitting taking rabbits from the Lowther estate. On 25/5/96 Penrith Magistrates were told that Steven Richardson (37) and Mark Newell (25) both of Needham Drive, Workington and Neil Metherell 38) of Pica Cottages, Distington all took rabbits at night from land at Thrimby Hall farm near Little Strickland. The three were kept under observation by police and a gamekeeper on 25/3/96. They had in their possession lamps and batteries. They were all fined £60 plus costs of £40 and the court ordered the seizure of their equipment.
Welshpool Magistrates heard how Stuart Ferguson (20) of Foden, near Welshpool, Mid Wales used a badly injured wood pigeon as a decoy to trap birds of prey. He denies five charges relating to the illegal use of a trap for ensnaring birds of prey on 25/8/95 on the Leighton Estate, near Welshpool. The estate is used for rearing pheasants for shooting. He admits setting the trap, but claimed this was only to catch crows or magpies. The case continues.
Gamekeeper Antonio Cussato (35) of Herbert Avenue, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire was found guilty on 19/6/96 by Wrexham Magistrates of four charges of setting traps and two charges of possessing them and was fined £400 and £100 costs. The traps were found by RSPB investigators on the Bryn-y-pys estate at Overton where Cussato worked. During a search of 13 pheasant pens on the estate evidence was found of illegal pole-traps in all but two, and in four of the pens the steel spring traps were set. On a search of Cussato’s house five identical traps were found and restraining wires hanging from a hook. Cussato claimed a trespasser with a grievance had placed them there while he was on holiday. (pull the other one!)
Steven Blackwell (22) of Briery Close, Windermere, Michael Hodgeson (27) of Little Langdale, Ambleside, Mark Parker (26) of Chapel Stile, Langdale and Kevin Wradhall (26) of Loughrigg, Ambleside were caught poaching fish at Raise Beck, near Grasmere they were confronted by Environment Agency bailiffs on 9/10/95. Windermere Magistrates heard how two of the men were armed with rifles, often used by poachers to shoot fish, and they were also shining bright lamps into the river. When the men were challenged by the bailiffs they said they were after rabbits and foxes, one of the men, Blackwell tried to run away but slipped and fell OOPS! All four were fined £60 for possessing a light intending to use it to take or kill fish, they were also ordered to pay £250 costs between them to the Environment Agency.
A soccer fan who kicked a puppy to death while he watched Euro 96 on TV was jailed for 28 days for cruelty to an animal by Oldham Magistrates on 13/8/96. The court was told how Scott Batey (28) of Longfellow Crescent, Sholver, Oldham, near Manchester (a manager of an exhaust centre) had lost his temper when the six-week-old puppy wouldn’t stop crying. The dog was then kicked several times and it was left with a broken jaw, four smashed ribs, bruised lungs and a torn liver. The magistrates ordered that Batey should be banned for life from owning any animal.
On 13/8/96 Salisbury Magistrates heard how three men were arrested during ‘Operation Avocet’, aimed at collectors and traders in eggs, protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Before the court were Anthony Parkes (48) of High Grove, Sunbury Hill, Torquay, Devon: Michael Sloane (36) of County Durham and Geoffrey Peirson (48) of Buckinghamshire. Parkes admitted possessing 52 eggs, which included the eggs of the Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Marsh Harrier and Kittiwake. During a raid on Parkes’s house last September the RSPB found more than 10,000 eggs. Parkes who works for a meat company (bad man) was fined £1,600 was ordered to pay the fine at a rate of £20 a week (How much!). Sloane admitted possessing 1,144 eggs and was fined £1,000. Peirson admitted seven offenses and was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £80 costs. Cases against three other collectors were adjourned after they pleaded not guilty.