Badger trial: group ‘cocky’ with police

Drop Folder News / ATEX News.18/10/10. Pic Kevin Allen.'Scarborough Magistrates Court.'104208b
Drop Folder News / ATEX News.18/10/10. Pic Kevin Allen.'Scarborough Magistrates Court.'104208b
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n The trial heard Anderson said the badger alerted the dogs to its presence.

A GANG accused of allowing dogs to savage four badgers were “cocky and flippant” with police immediately after the attacks, a court heard yesterday.

Scarborough Magistrates’ Court was told the men - part of a group of eight - searched for badgers before setting dogs on their prey at a farm near Malton in January.

One of the badgers was mauled by the dogs before being shot in the head.

A second badger, which had been killed and buried, and two dead foetuses, were also found in the field at Paradise Farm, in Howsham.

William Anderson, 26, of Pickering, Alan Alexander, 32, James Doyle, 34, Richard Simpson, 37, Paul Tindall, 33, and a 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are all charged with wilfully killing a badger.

The also face offences of digging for badgers, interfering with badger setts and hunting a wild animal by using a tracking collar on a dog to locate the animal underground.

All six deny the charges.

The court heard a statement from Scarborough RSPCA inspector Geoff Edmond who visited the scene and said a hole had been dug close to the sett.

He said: “I could see blood splattered around the crowning down hole and a dead badger was lying in a marshy bog.

“It had clearly been shot in its head.”

Sgt Paul Stephenson, who surveyed the area in the aftermath of the incident, apprehended some of the men close to the scene.

He said: “They were cocky and flippant but they would not tell me what had gone on.

“They said they had not killed a badger but would not elaborate on that and would not tell me about the persons who had.”

The court also heard from Jean Thorpe, from Ryedale Badger Group, who was asked by Sobia Ahmed, prosecuting, if a terrier could have dragged a badger to the sett entrance.

She said: “It would have had to have been a good terrier to do that.

“This was not a little sett so there would be a lot of room underground and is highly unlikely to find a badger in the entrance of a sett.”

She was also asked about the chances of someone knowing where to dig for a badger if they had not used surveillance equipment.

She added: “There was only one crowning down hole which mean they got extremely lucky or they knew what they were doing.”

Two other men, Christopher Holmes, 28, and Malcolm Warner, also 28, have admitted wilfully killing a badger, digging for badgers, and interfering with a sett.

They will be sentenced in January.

The trial continues.