Posts Tagged ‘Fen Traps’

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

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.

There has been quite a bit of interest in the story I published a few weeks ago regarding the stinks pits and industrial scale killing of our wildlife from snares, poison and traps. Two local newspapers ran an article with pictures and the general public who are, by and large, completely unaware that such practices are going on reacted in a suitably disgusted manner. While I was away I was contacted by BBC local radio who want to do an interview on air during their breakfast show, along with the local Wildlife Crime Officer from Hertfordshire Police. Unfortunately but unsurprisingly the police were reluctant to get involved so it didn’t happen. The RSPB investigations team were also very interested in the illegally set Fen traps and may have visited the site which I can now name as Spitals Wood near the village of Wallington, just outside Baldock in Hertfordshire.

stink 1

The story published in the papers came from a member of the public who witnessed for themselves the horrors contained in that wood which in due course lead to this blog and yours truly. With the police and the RSPB now showing an interest as well as that from the wider public due to social media and local press it would seem pressure was building on the gamekeeper and land owners to do something about it. The member of the public involved was later informed by the police that the site had been cleared and he then related this message to me.

Now, call me cynical but I don’t have a whole lot of respect for the police when it come to wildlife crime. I know the WCO in question and he was happy to watch the Puckeridge Hunt go about their business without getting involved or indeed even get out of his car last hunt season. He kept what I could probably describe as neutral stance which I guess is better than most on the police side who generally seem to pick the wrong side. However I had to see for myself if indeed the area had been cleared of the stink pits which would be no easy task considering there was years worth of dead and decaying animals to remove.

stink2

Well I’m very pleased to say the police were true to their word. The carcasses had been completely removed, only a few bones and bits remained. There were no more snares and traps evident and even the poison had been dug out of the ground and taken away. Needless to say I’m very happy about these developments. Locations and gamekeepers like this probably account for more foxes and general wildlife than any hunt so I can only hope it remains that way. Needless to say it will continued to be monitored just case the game keeper makes an attempt to return to his old ways.

It just goes to show the pressure which can be exerted on these people through the press and social media and how a positive outcome can be achieved with non-violent direct action and the opening of peoples eyes to the truth behind the shooting industry and the damage they do to our native wildlife.

poison

Our wildlife is under constant pressure. Pressure from development and the demand for new land due to human expansion, the pressure of modern farming where if it doesn’t make money it’s considered a nuisance and the pressure of those who treat the environment as a plaything, to do with as they wish regardless of the long term consequences. This malevolent force is the same which releases millions of non-native birds into our ecosystems every year, with little chance of survival, purely for the benefit of a very small demographic with the sufficient funds and a love for killing, so they can be blasted from the sky purely for the enjoyment of killing a living thing. These people of course would never do their own dirty work, that is of course down to that most strange and disturbed individual better known as the Gamekeeper. Their sole purpose in life is to protect their valuable crop of Pheasants (or Grouse depending on where you are in the country) from anything which they perceive may do them harm or just be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Raptors suffer hugely at the hands of Gamekeepers, illegally persecuted with little chance of retribution although the RSPB and similar organisations are doing their best to bring these people to justice and with some success although seem to fail to take on the shooting industry directly. However what isn’t seen is the tragically legal persecution of our other species which goes on out of sight of the public. A grotesque yet common practice of trapping and snaring anything which just happens to inhabit the same piece of woodland where the pheasant pens are located.

S1170003

A detailed report with video and photos came into my possession which has to be put into the public domain. A small section of woodland was discovered which contained no less than 7 Larsen traps and various other cages (some containing live Magpies, designed to catch Corvids), over 10 Fen traps all set and some baited with eggs (these are designed to kill Weasels, Stoats and Rats) and most disgustingly 8 free running snares secured with breeze blocks or other heavy items. Snares are massively cruel and indiscriminate. Anything can become trapped in them and will then go on to suffer a slow and agonizing death or if they’re lucky something slightly less offensive in the form of the Gamekeepers shotgun or blunt instrument to the head. Deer, Foxes and Badgers can all fall prey to snares and family pets are just as likely should they wander in these areas. All of the devices described surrounded a Pheasant pen which in turn was surrounded by lots of shooting towers. Even though the pens were empty of Pheasants, the traps were still in operation.

The images are somewhat disturbing. The stench of death I’m told, will stay with those who were there for a long time to come. If you think this is an acceptable way to treat our wildlife then stop reading now, go back to reading your Daily Mail and prepare to vote UKIP or Tory in May. For everyone else with a decent level of compassion to our fellow beings I suggest you get involved and start to make a difference. Soon our wonderful and diverse countryside and the wildlife that lives in it will be diminished beyond a sustainable level, to be replaced with a sterile environment, overrun with a hapless non-native species and only good for those who like to kill things for fun. This is happening all over the country, what we’ve witnessed here is just a microcosm of the organised and systematic destruction of our native species. This is the true impact of the shooting industry and it’s time to make a change.

Sign the petition to ban snares here.