Men fined for poaching

FIVE men were ordered by Scarborough Magistrates to pay a combined total of almost £1,200 after they admitted to hunting with lurchers.

Scarborough Magistrates’ Court heard that David Adams, 31, Terence Calvert, 22, James Francis, 27, Christopher Stephenson, 41, and 36-year-old Jonathon Stephenson trespassed on private land at Low Marishes, near Malton, with five dogs on July 19.

They then proceeded to hunt game using the lurchers.

Prosecutor Martin Butterworth said: “It was around 7.15pm when a witness saw a motor car pull up next to the farmland.

“He then watched as the men entered the farmland and saw the dogs in pursuit of a hare.”

The police were called, and they quickly tracked down four of the men and their dogs. The other man had hidden in a bush and had to be talked out by his friends.

They initially told police the dogs had escaped from a broken car window but entered guilty pleas to trespassing in pursuit of game during their court hearing.

Jonathon Stephenson, who had three previous convictions for similar offences and already owed the court £645, told magistrates: “I’ve hunted all my life. I love the sport, but I’ve had fine after fine and I’ve just got sick. I don’t own dogs anymore.”

Christopher Stephenson and Calvert had one conviction each for hunting offences while Francis and Adams had no previous hunting convictions.

In his mitigation, Adams stated: “My dog was chasing the hare on that day. I’m sorry and it won’t happen again.”

The men had travelled to Low Marishes from the Teeside area.

Magistrates said they had taken the defendants’ means as well as their previous convictions into account when deciding on the level of fine.

Adams was fined £230, Francis and Calvert were fined £200 each, Christopher Stephenson will pay £150 and Jonathon Stephenson will pay £115. All will pay £45 costs and a £15 victim surcharge each.