Posts Tagged ‘Leicestershire Police’

Well after a brief break from blogging and another trip north of the border in what had to be the coldest week of the summer (it barely got above 13-14°C for the whole week) I’m back to catch up with whats been going on.

One story which obviously came to my attention was the death of 10 hounds and the injury to a cyclist after the collision with a car. The hounds in question belonged to the Cottesmore Hunt, you may remember them from a season ago when their terrier men assaulted sabs and one of their supporters brandished a heavy chain, swinging it wildly like a maniac which could have caused serious injury had it connected with its intended target  (incidentally no charges were forthcoming from Leicestershire Police, surprise surprise).

Obviously no-one from either side of the hunting debate would wish a tragic event like this but one has to question the reality of the situation and the reaction from supporters of hunting. While I don’t know the full details the hunt supporters were very quick to apportion blame, both on the driver of the vehicle and, you guessed it – sabs.

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Where the incident happened

It’s very easy to jump to conclusion without knowing the full facts however having observed hounds being exercised and transferred along country roads you have to question the sense and logic behind how this takes place. Having a kennel man on a bicycle with a whip on what is likely to be a bendy country road with a full pack of hounds (probably at least 15 couple) is obviously a recipe for disaster. Dogs do not have any idea of road safety and that many hounds could easily fill a narrow country lane and with these on a blind bend then the outcome is hardly surprising. This isn’t the first time hounds have been killed while being exercised (see here ) and I have no doubt it won’t be the last. Was the driver speeding as the hunt supporters claim or were they merely an innocent party going about their business who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

What was even more laughable were the claims that this was actually the work of sabs. Just think about that for a moment. A sab intentionally drove their vehicle at speed into a pack of hounds.

To say it’s utterly ridiculous is an understatement.

First off most sabs are vegans. Harming any animal goes against the very ethos of veganism and the ideal by which we live. We believe hounds are as big a victim of hunting as the animals they are trained and forced to hunt. Even ignoring this the legal ramifications of potentially losing ones license make the stupidity of those actions only bettered by the morons who suggested it in the first place. Here are a few of those comments posted on a pro hunting Facebook group.

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Aren’t they all just wonderful? One has to question where and how this rumour started? The same old tired and jaded stereotypical opinions such as claims of being hypocrits and their usual favourite (terrorists) are being wheeled out once more without any shred of evidence to support the claims but then this is of course nothing new and hardly unexpected.

As it turns out this proved to be somewhat of an embarrassment for that particular group and it had to delete all the comments blaming sabs and publish a post contradicting all those slathering hunt supporters looking to blame.

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Well at least that’s cleared up then but was the driver really out of control? It should also be noted that the driver of the vehicle hasn’t been charged with any traffic offences so the police clearly believe none had taken place which would suggest the claims by the hunt that they were out of control are also innacurate. Regardless of that what are the necessary requirement for exercising a large number of hound on a public road? I’m fairly sure Joe public would’t be allowed to walk a large number of dogs who weren’t controlled by a lead on a public highway. As hunting hounds come under the classification of working dogs the same laws don’t apply – perhaps they should.

Finally the longest hunting case in history (I made that up but it certainly feels like it) will be resolved on the 14th January 2019, a full 3 years after the offence took place. This will be the appeal of convicted Fitzwilliam huntsman George Adams. Let’s hope we can get this written into case law at the crown court and finally the ridiculous Bird of Prey Exemption can be written into history.

 

On the 5th of September Leicestshire Police will be holding a training day with the focus being on Hunting. They have held these training days previously and it is my understanding that anti-hunt groups have been represented in the past and shared their experiences of hunting. This is of course a good thing, however it would seem that all is not right.

If you didn’t read this story the first time it was published I suggest that you do so now.

Umasking the Shadow Man

The guest blog above is a well researched and written piece, it perfectly highlights what activist are up against in this country and how the Countryside Alliance are purely there to influence and cajole the police on how they deal with those who’s goal is to save the lives of illegally hunted animals and uphold the law in the face of huge provocation, intimidation and violence. The CA’s sole purpose is to subvert the law to their members benefit and create an opinion within the police force that monitors and sabs are nothing more than terrorists and trouble makers to be dealt with harshly and unfairly while all the time the real criminals can carry on flouting the law with impunity.

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From my friends over at West Mids Hunt Sabs:

“Last year Philip Davies attended the National Police Chief Council conference where he did a 20 minute talk entitled “Hunting without Harassment” (nevermind that hunting is illegal) and in the talk he portrayed sabs as violent and dangerous criminals and pushed for the use of Section 35 anti-social behaviour dispersal orders and section 60AA powers.

Leicestershire Police need reminding that over the past three years the Atherstone Hunt and its associates have collected 20 convictions, cautions and community resolutions for violence and anti-social behaviour with possibly more to follow. 11 of these are convictions for assault. We on the other hand have none. Zero. We have not even been charged with anything. So quite clearly the violent dangerous criminals are the Atherstone Hunt. That is a fact.

The Atherstone Hunt has gained a lot of unwanted press for foxhunting over the past few years and because of this they are constantly looking at ways to get rid of us. However documenting and exposing illegal hunting is not a crime and neither is preventing any breaches of the Hunting Act.

Leicestershire Police should also remind themselves that the CA is a pressure group who want the Hunting Act repealed, an organisation who were behind the Hunting Declaration Day on 1st November 2003. This saw 50,000 hunt supporters publicly sign declarations that they would break any future law that banned hunting. How can a police force invite someone to an event whose organisation advocates breaking the law? And not just any law but one of laws being discussed at that meeting.

The Countryside Alliance is a dangerous organisation involved in organised crime and the promotion of violence and the breaking of the law. As such inviting them to this event will be legitimising criminality. It would be like inviting the mafia to assist and guide police officers on the issue of drug dealing”.

So what can you do?

Contact Leicestshire Police on Facebook: Click Here

Contact Chief Constable Simon Cole: Email – Twitter

Leicstershire PCC (Lord Willy Bach): Email – Twitter

Politely express your concerns over the inclusion of Philip Davies and why he shouldn’t be trying to influence policing for the benefit of criminals.

 

So another hunting season is over.

It’s always good to look back and evaluate what’s gone on and see how you can learn to make ourselves more effective in future operations. We’ve tried a new direction this year and it’s certainly been an interesting experience but whether it turns out to be a success or not still remains to be seen.

Traditionally there has been a lot of suspicion and distrust between activist groups and the police and not without good reason. However we’ve made a concerted effort to break down these barriers and this pretty much started after my conversation with the Chief Inspector after I published this story (see here). It still seems a little odd to me that 6 months down the line we’ve had no contact with the officer that was the subject of that story in her position of Wildlife Crime Officer. Whether she still holds that position or not I don’t know but I can only assume she does. From then on we did however have a reasonable flow of information coming from the police. We were assigned a liaison officer with whom I met and discussed the way forward and we have continued to keep a regular dialogue. For their part the police seemed to be improving and took illegal hunting more seriously as well as the threat to our safety from the moronic half wits who act as the hunts personal security force. With our help the police were able to identify that the hunt was clearly hunting illegally and while not able to prosecute they didn’t impede us while we operated.

The problems arose with consistency of officers and the nature of the way our operations work.

As a group we have our own intelligence network and rely on informants within the hunting community passing on meet information or simply local people who have had enough of hunt riding roughshod over them. I’m fairly sure the police will understand this and we would inform our liaison as soon as we knew we would be operating in the county. This would often be the day of the hunt however apparently this doesn’t give the police time to act in any meaningful manner. This proved to be the case on the 4th of March when we were assaulted and had cameras stolen in a private woodland behind the Oakley Hunt kennels. The perpetrators claims we were trespassing and had the right to remove us from the land when the truth of the matter was the complete opposite. One particularly obnoxious couple even took their toddler to the confrontation, something any normal parent would clearly wish to avoid. We’ve been in regular contact with the owners of the wood and needless to say they are not happy with what occurred and have made repeated complaints against the hunt and to the police.

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Police vehicle parked in the Oakley Hunt kennels

The fact the hunt denied all knowledge of the people involved speaks volumes about the obvious lies they are prepared to tell to cover their own arses. The vehicles owned by the people responsible were parked in the hunt kennels! The response of the police on the day was appalling to say the least. The officers were utterly uninterested in hearing our complaints and sided instantly with those who had committed the crime even though they didn’t know the full story. We will be having a meeting next month with the Inspector in charge of that part of policing for the county and shall make our feelings known. Slightly concerning was the lack of information being passed between the officers themselves. I spoke to our liaison some time after the incident expecting her to be aware of it and yet it was all news to her. Surely if an incident took place involving us the first person to be informed would be our liaison officer? Clearly there is work to be done here and as it stands we’ve withdrawn all contact until our meeting but for the time being we’ll continue down this path for as long as it takes to get these one sided attitudes changed.

Of course not all forces as the same. We’ve had a fair amount of contact with Cambridgeshire rural units and they’ve done pretty well by bringing the Fitzwilliam Hunt to court (26th/27th April), and at the very least being impartial and investigating illegal hunting when required. Leicestershire have been awful in the past but now have a number of officers trained in matters relating to hunting (Well done to Northants Hunt Sabs who had a big hand in this) but Northants Police still have a way to go although having said that it was nice to know that some of the main protagonists among the thugs have recently been arrested by the Northants force, some for the second time and after searches of their houses alleged stolen property seized. We have submitted plenty of video evidence against them so fingers crossed that justice will be served. I do know that forces further afield still turn a complete blind eye to illegal hunting and still actively persecute the sabs and monitors in the fields attempting to stop these crimes, perhaps this is due to the story I published here or senior officers are hunters themselves?

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One of the many we saved, this time from the Fitzwilliam.

From a sabbing point of view the season has been a bit up and down although we can comfortably say we’ve made a big difference. Like everything in life we have good and bad days but even on the bad days we’ve saved lives and that’s what really counts. Our attentions have reduced the Oakley to a pathetic shambles, more often that not with only a handful of riders and a huntsman who can’t control the hounds. We’ll be surprised if huntsman Calamity Jack still has a job next year. What’s also been clear is their lack of hunt country. Land owners have clearly been pulling out from giving them permission to hunt on their land, there can be no other reason for the hunt to be so restricted and using the same areas several times a season and now that there are hunt hounds implicated in the spread of bTB things are only going to get worse for them.

We’ve had some good PR in the press both local and national and this of course has lead to more public support and people inquiring about getting involved. We’ll be running a training day over the summer for these potential new sabs, we’ll be fund raising and doing some outreach with a stall in a local Lush this May and a vegan fair later in the summer.

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One of our own escorting the shambolic Oakley.

I think the biggest thing we have learnt is more about ourselves. No matter what abuse we face, be it physical or verbal we only come back stronger, no matter how difficult it may be to work with the authorities it only makes us more determined. The general public are overwhelmingly on our side and that’s a powerful weapon to wield in conjunction with an unshakeable spirit to stand up and do the right thing. The Countryside Alliance may bang on every year about record crowds at hunts but the facts are somewhat different. There can be only one final outcome, it’s just a matter of time.

It’s been quite an intense few days.

As the Oakley are such an embarrassingly bad hunt we decided our efforts would be better spent elsewhere so decided to join our comrades from the North & South Cambs groups. The full report of the day can be found on our Facebook page. What we didn’t know of course at the time was the impact that days sabbing would have.

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The incident regarding the nutter with the chain made several national news outlets including the Fail Online (which of course got some details wrong) and the Mirror who’s coverage was more complete. We’ve also been contacted by the BBC’s regional news team so expect they will be covering the story as well. I’ve been in contact with the press fairly constantly over the last few days but the PR is priceless so worth the effort.

Of course there is nothing new in these types of incident. I’ve been reporting on them all season but once again the hunts and their supporters are being shown up for what they really are, violent thugs who can only use threats, abuse and violence to justify their ends. As we arrived at the location to offer assistance to those under attack the terrier men responsible for the assaults on the sabs fled the scene when the odds weren’t so heavily stacked in their favour and this is typical of the mindset of these people. Although they were masked at the time we did catch footage of them unmasked and these will be sent to the police.

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Can you identify these men?

It would be very easy for the hunt to pass on their details to the police as they are no doubt paid employees of the Cottesmore but considering the hunt master, Nicholas Leeming wouldn’t even condemn their actions when challenged and could only mutter some nonsense counter claims before riding off speaks volumes. They need these cap doffing low lives to do their dirty work and if things get a little too close to home they can always disown them.

These weren’t the only crimes committed that day even if you ignore the blatantly illegal hunting and foxes aren’t the only animals to suffer. As we tracked the hunt across the Leicestershire countryside we counted around 5 large badger setts which had been completely trashed where spade marks were clearly visible. The terrier men do this in the morning before the hunt to prevent any foxes escaping underground. Even if your twisted view of hunting defines it as a sport, this is certainly not very sporting and also completely illegal. Interfering with a badger sett is covered by the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. The local wildlife groups have been informed and we returned to open up some of the wholes where we could to allow the badgers access to above ground. With all this in mind you’d think it would be a no brainer for Rutland County Council to withdraw from hosting the hunt on Boxing day but just in case there is a petition to remind them about the issue.

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Trashed sett entrance with clear spade marks.

It was the 12th anniversary of the Hunting Act last weekend and you have to ask yourself what has changed? If I’m honest not a lot, the hunts are still hunting foxes, hares and stags and people like me are still out there stopping them but the tide is definitely turning. They’re no longer having things all their own way and public opinion against hunting is stronger than ever. In some parts of the country the police are no longer servants of the hunt and the mountains of media coverage is making life very uncomfortable. Ultimately there is only one outcome. We will win, it’s just a matter of time.