6th July 2021
Two men have denied interfering with badger setts in use.
Nathan Bowes and Seward Folland were filmed by hunt saboteurs as they blocked entrances to a badger sett in woodland in Devon, in November 2019.
Mr Bowes, of Brixworth, Northampton, told Exeter Magistrates Court he put nets around the sett after he had checked it was not in current use.
He said he checked for signs because he would not have wanted to break the law.
Mr Bowes, 26, was a kennel man for the Eggesford Hunt at the time and said soon after getting to the spot three hunt saboteurs wearing balaclavas turned up.
He told the court he packed up the nets to try and diffuse the situation.
He said he was there to “humanely dispatch” a fox which had gone to ground with a pistol but it was unsafe to do so and he left on his quad bike.
He said he was helping out the landowner who had a pheasant pen nearby.
The court heard he returned the next day and found peanuts on the ground and several cameras, saying: “I felt I was being framed.”
He said Bowes laid nets to “bolt the fox in the net to be humanely dispatched”.
He told the court: “It was a badger sett at one time.”
The prosecution have said it is not in dispute that footage showed them blocking the entrance to the setts with earth, debris and nets.
The issue is whether the sett was active and if there is evidence that it was being used by badgers at the time.
The two men deny a total of three charges of interfering with badger setts and their trial continues.