Back on the 6th of June we mentioned this case and said that we would be blogging more on it once it had been decided. Today two individuals who were terriermen with the Eggesford Hunt, Seward Folland and Nathan Bowes (now with the Pytchley with Woodland Hunt) were found guilty of interfering with an active badger sett. Folland was ordered to pay £732 and Bowes £940. Seward Foland is apparently a parish councillor and also a licensed badger cull contractor. It seems strange that he should be unable to identify an active badger sett.
There is a full report on the case here which also has interesting links to the Devon County Hunt Sabs (DCHS) Facebook page.
Our concern here is not the conviction but the fact that the offence was detected and interrupted by DCHS. We believe that there was a police presence at the hunt on the day in question and are surprised that it was left to DCHS to deal with this incident in which at least one of the perpetrators had a firearm.
Shaun Sawyer the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Constabulary and Alison Hernandez the Police and Crime Commissioner for the area need to consider carefully why on this occasion members of the public were left to confront armed men committing an offence. They also need to review the policy for policing hunts.
Leaving the public to tackle armed criminals while the police are busy nearby ‘monitoring for public order offences’ is no way to fulfill the basic functions of a competent police service. It is also no way to win public support or to convince them that wildlife crime is a priority.
“Without fear or favour”?
Four of the trail cameras that DCHS deployed to gather evidence mysteriously went missing from the site. These were worth about £500. If you would like to contribute to the cost of replacing these cameras you can do so at this link