Northumberland apprentice gamekeeper sent to prison.

TWO men from Northumberland, one an apprentice gamekeeper, have been sent to prison by South East Northumberland magistrates after forcing animals to fight to the death and posting footage of their sadistic activities on the internet. Wayne Lumsden and Connor Patterson, both 23, were sent to prison for 26 and 20 weeks respectively by magistrates at Bedlington for offences relating to badgers, foxes, dogs, cats and cocks.

Magistrates also banned Lumsden and Patterson from keeping animals for fifteen and eight years respectively after they had boasting about their activities in text messages and keeping photos – some of which appeared on website Bebo. Lumsden, of Park Road, Lynemouth, had earlier pleaded guilty to willfully killing a badger and two counts of causing an animal fight to take place.

Farm worker Patterson, of Whitfield, near Hexham, who the court heard had been an apprentice gamekeeper, had pleaded guilty to two counts of causing an animal fight to take place.

Prosecutor Denise Jackman told the court police had unearthed a series of videos, photos and text messages on Lumsden’s mobile phone.

Magistrates were read a series of texts exchanged by the pair in which Lumsden bragged of “killing a badger” with his and another dog – something he described as “mint”.

The court was then shown a video of the badger being attacked by the two dogs, then footage of cocks fighting and again men’s voices could be heard encouraging them.

Magistrates heard clothes seen in the video were later traced to Lumsden and that a text message of his referred to spurs used in cock fighting.

The court was shown additional video footage of a fox which had been snared being attacked by a dog. A stick was thrust into the fox’s mouth and a boot – which was later traced to Patterson – was shown on its neck.  Again, men could be heard laughing and encouraging the dog with cries of “kill it”.

In the final bit of footage, a fox was shown in a cage with a dog. The animals are seen fighting with men’s voices encouraging them and hands shown holding the fox’s ears through the cage.

In a search of Lumsden’s home carried out by Northumberland Constabulary, DVDs were found, including TV programmes about the RSPCA and its work on badger baiting.

Photographic evidence was found on his Bebo page.

During an interview, Patterson admitted he had been an apprentice gamekeeper and had a national diploma in countryside and game management. While studying for this, he had learnt how to use snares and traps.

Defending Lumsden, Graham Crouth said his client had got involved in a crowd where he felt the “need to impress”. Mr Crouth said other people played a more active role in the badger attack than Lumsden, but that there had been “a group mentality” whereby it is “difficult to say that is wrong” and his client had not shown the courage to do so.

Patterson, defending himself, claimed he had been an innocent bystander and had not caused any animals to fight, although he accepted he could have intervened.

After the case, wildlife crime officer PC Andy Swinburne said: “This was a complex and prolonged investigation which led the inquiry across the whole of Northumberland, from Berwick to Blyth and to the western border with Cumbria. “I’m pleased with the sentence passed and hope it will act as a deterrent for like-minded individuals.”

3 comments to Northumberland apprentice gamekeeper sent to prison.

  • John Miles

    No wildlife is safe when land owners encourage the killing of so many birds and mammals just for a few days shooting.

  • James

    Their behaviour is absolutely vile. Ciminals like this are an absolute nightmare for landowners and gamekeepers – it’s ironic that Lumsden is described as an ‘apprentice gamekeeper’ when he must have cost real gamekeepers many sleepless nights.

  • PeregrinePete

    Dont think there is much difference between the ‘apprentice keeper’ and a few real keepers. I came across a dead cat in stink pit and i am pretty sure it did not get there on its own accord.