3rd October 2019
A gang of cruel badger baiters have been jailed after being caught on hidden cameras using dogs on an illegal hunt.
Christian Latcham, 32, Thomas Young, 26, Cyle Jones, 31, and Jamie Rush, 27, were filmed on two pinhole cameras worn by an undercover investigator.
The four men loaded a pick-up van with shovels and dogs to go to a “pre-arranged” location to dig for badgers in the countryside.
Prosecutor Jon Tarrant said: “They were attempting to take a badger.”
The group did not know they had been joined by the undercover investigator – known as John.
Giving evidence, the researcher said Young introduced him to three other men before they set off on the hunt on March 24 last year.
He said: “The discussions were that Thomas, Christian and two other individuals were going to West Wales to a pre-designated location and that they were going to be digging for badgers.”
The journalist said the men met at Latcham’s House where he had a garage transformed into” kennels” – with cages and dogs.
They then set off from the Rhondda Valleys, South Wales, to Llanddewi Velfrey.
The undercover investigator working for BBC Wales said the men discussed that they would “dig for billies/badgers” on the journey.
He said when the men arrived at a field they donned “wellies and countrywear” and put collars on the dogs to track their whereabouts.
He said: “They explained to me what would happen when they put the dogs down into the tubes, as they called it. Into the set.
“They explained about monitoring the dog in the ground.”
The court heard when the dog stopped underground the men began to dig.
He said: “When it stopped I was told that was when we would dig down.
“When we dug down there wasn’t anything with that dog.
“We repeated this cycle for a number of hours.”
The court heard that larger dogs were brought to the holes “in readiness” to attack the badgers.
Merthyr Tydfil magistrates sitting at Cardiff Crown Court, heard the group carried out “extensive digging.”
One hole was so deep that Latcham’s head could not be seen above the ground as he stood in it.
Latcham, of Porth, Rhondda, Young, of Caerphilly, Jones, and Rush, both from Brecon, Powys, denied attempting to kill, injure or take a badger but were found guilty.
Latcham was jailed for 26 weeks, Jones and Rush to 22 weeks.
Young was sentenced to 20 weeks in custody, suspended for 12 months. He will be subject to a curfew between 9pm and 6am.
Latcham has 12 previous convictions for 24 offences, including for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
Jones has 13 previous convictions for 18 offences, including animal cruelty. Rush has eight previous convictions for nine offences and has previously been sentenced to two years in prison.
Only one of the gang – Jamie Rush – gave evidence during the four day trial in front of District Judge Neil Thomas.
Judge Thomas said: “I have no difficulty coming to the unreserved conclusion, that he was not telling the truth.”