Double Standards?

This article was first published by More Than Just Badgers September 21 2015

www.morethanjustbadgers.net

I’d said I’d be back and here I am and I have to say it’s been a funny few weeks.

Except of course I’m not laughing.

Approximately 6 weeks ago I was woken early Sunday morning by a banging on my door. Bleary eyed I looked out the window to be greeted by the sight of a police van parked outside my house and two officers at the door.

I opened it where upon they confirmed my identity and asked if they could come in. I asked if they had a warrant to which they responded that they didn’t. I then told them I wouldn’t allow them access to my property. At which point they said they would then arrest me regardless, which after I put on some clothes they did. They then searched my house and removed a number of items including my phone, my custom built PC, a camera, a portable drive and some other totally unrelated and nonsense items like a baseball cap, knee supports (years of sport leave you with bad knees) and my rucksack. I was then taken to the police station where I sat, bored out of my skull for 6 hours with nothing more than a couple of cups of water. I’m a vegan, and so should have been offered something suitable to eat as they have a duty of care and have to provide food for all dietary requirements but this didn’t materialise until my lawyer arrived whereupon they managed to produce a disgusting beans and potato microwave ready meal. I would have been happy with some bread and hummus which could have easily been purchased as there is a large Tesco’s directly opposite the police station but they wouldn’t do this.

I was being arrested in relation to the story I published while ago and regarding the Woodland of Death (see here and here). It would seem this had annoyed the right people and the right people had obviously taken this up with the police. Clearly they were unhappy that their wildlife murdering ways had been brought to the attention of the general public and the following outcry had forced them to do something they were unhappy with and so demanded some sort of retribution. The location, Spitals Wood which is part of Quickswood Farm near Baldock in Hertfordshire, is I believe part of the estate owned by the Marquess of Salisbury. Now the police are constantly complaining of lack of funds and ability to respond to crime, even to the point where they are now no longer responding to some burglaries and only issuing a crime number for insurance purposes. However if someone is linked (even tenuously) to the destruction of snares (which are banned or severely restricted in other EU countries) and fen traps (of which some were illegally set – will they go after the Gamekeeper as well?) then they must face the full force of the law. The authorities went to some lengths to find out who I was, shame they can’t put the same effort into other crimes. The charge was officially 19 counts of criminal damage, amounting to around £400.

Quickwoods Farm

£400. I wonder how much the police time and effort cost to arrest and investigate someone who merely reported on the matter and brought it to the attention of the general public. A general public which are generally appalled by such barbaric devices. The £400 claim is a complete nonsense anyway, the snares were home made and cost pennies to produce and the fen traps cost £4.50 each on line. Hardly crime of the century regardless of who committed it. Was this truly in the public interest, would the police be so eager to investigate damage to your home in the same way? Why did it take a petition signed by thousands, significant public pressure plus complete and clear video evidence of the incident for the CPS to finally decide to act when a saboteur was ruthlessly run down and seriously injured by a hunter on a horse? The crimes are not even remotely comparable in terms of severity and yet the police were keen to act on one and hugely reluctant on the other.

Do you think this is right?

Draw your own conclusions.

I was questioned under caution with my lawyer present. My replies were “no comment” to all of them. As my lawyer said, “It’s not illegal to report on crime or take photographs, you could have taken a picture of a big pile of heroin, doesn’t mean it was yours or you had anything to do with it”.

So I was finally released by some less than pleased officers (I think they had the impression they would get a quick result) without a PC, a phone and all the other items. No doubt they had a good old rummage through everything and gained some nice intelligence. I was confident they wouldn’t find anything else which would connect me to the incident as everything I had was already in the public domain and as expected I received a call from the solicitors yesterday (17/9/15) informing me that no further action would be taken and I could collect my possessions.

Would you consider this a proper use of tax payers money?

So here we are. Of course this hasn’t had one iota of an impact at all on what I do, I’m still hunting the hunters and currently heavily involved with fighting the cruel and unnecessary badger cull down in Dorset. I’ll update you all on that in the coming weeks. Perhaps in the mean time you might like to take a walk around Quickswood Farm this autumn, pay special attention to Spitals Wood. They may have removed everything for the time being but Leopards can’t change their spots, I expect they’ll be back to their killing ways soon enough. There are plenty of footpaths and rights of way but be aware, shooting estates are built on death and suffering, you probably won’t see any wildlife, except for Pheasants of course.

Thanks to Bindmans for their legal help.

Here’s a reminder of the devastation.

3 comments to Double Standards?

  • martin

    Hi – just read your report and watched the video. It is disgusting that this sort of wildlife abuse can continue to happen. For sport?!

    Thanks for bringing it to the attention of the general public – some of whom care a lot about this.

    regards
    martin

  • Gerard Hobley

    Roe deer are vicious carnivores.

  • cindy curtid

    No our wildlife shouldn’t have to suffer like this. Shameful that they arrested the wrong person and let the trappers carry on.