Posts Tagged ‘Oakley Hunt’

You’ll hear the same phrase from the police over and over again when questioned over the hunting issue; “We aim to remain impartial with regards to the hunting and recognise the right to demonstrate peacefully”, or pretty much words to that effect.

Now the problem with that is it’s based purely on the assumption that both sides are acting in a lawful manner. You have to hand it to the so-called Countryside Alliance, they’ve done a fine job in convincing the powers that be that trail hunting is a legal and legitimate pass time. Having said that if the anti-hunt side had the same money and influence within the establishment I’ve no doubt the situation would be a little less one sided.

Now I’m fairly certain that the truth of the matter has been well and truly demonstrated by the huge number of well documented hunting kills. Cheshire has seen a large number recently and it has got to the point where the Police and Crime Commissioner has publicly come out to counter statements by Cheshire’s Acting Chief Constable (see here) regarding what appears on social media and has indeed gone further in holding a public meeting to put more scrutiny on hunting within the county (see here).

Only last Saturday (16/02/19) our group was present when the Oakley Hunt killed a young vixen in front of sabs who were doing their very best to save her. It was tough on the new sabs but they acted in a very professional manner in the face of some hugely unpleasant provocation and are a credit to our group. Huntsman Jack Harris (better known as Calamity Jack due his tendency to lose the hounds) knew exactly what was going on. He knew they were on a fox and yet sat there denying all knowledge of any wrong doing. He even had the temerity to deny his hounds had killed anything. A short time later he rang the police and claimed an accident had happened just to cover his own arse.

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The young vixen killed by the Oakley Hunt in the arms of a young sab

And this is where the problem lies.

As it stand the hunts can go out and kill with impunity because all they have to do is – exactly NOTHING, and then claim it was an accident. The level of burden of proof to get a conviction within the Hunting Act is set way too high. There needs to be undeniable evidence of intent by the hunt staff to kill the fox. That means encouraging the hounds with voice or horn while knowing they are hunting live quarry.

So this brings me rounds to my point with regards to impartiality.

This isn’t about a matter of opinion or even a difference in ethical points of view. This is about what is legal and what isn’t. The police are perfectly within their rights to arrest someone who they may find acting suspiciously in the middle of the night with certain tools about their person, the term is “going equipped”. It’s about time that the police understood that going into a field with 12 couple or more (that’s 24 to normal people) trained fox killers and putting them into areas which are likely to contain foxes is only going to have one outcome and you don’t have to be Hercule Poiro to figure that out. Going equipped to kill foxes (or hares for the Beaglers).

If any hunt can’t provide concrete evidence of a trail being laid (and that’s not just some moron buggering around in the nearest field with a mucky rag for 10 minutes) with a map to go with it then they should be forced back to kennels. Any deviation from the map supplied should also be constituted as unlawful along with going into or near likely fox holding areas.

Of course this is all fantasy land, hardly any hunts even bother to pay even minor lip service to the law and they have no intention on changing, they are hunting in a most brazen manner. The Oakley certainly do, we’ve been sabbing them for the last 6 years and I’ve yet to see them lay any sort of trail. If they weren’t such a crappy hunt they’d kill a lot more foxes.

It’s time the police dropped the whole impartiality line. They must know the hunts are breaking the law so quoting that only makes them look at best, incompetent or at worst, horribly biased.

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Additional: The kill at the Oakley was registered as a crime by Bedfordshire Police who by-and-large acted in a professional manner, the body was taken as evidence and scenes of crimes officers noted it had died from multiple dog bites. We don’t expect any further action for the reasons I’ve describe above but the file on the Oakley is certainly building and their time will come.

I’ve had this blog post written for some time but due to an ongoing legal case I’ve held back it’s publication. That case has now been concluded (successfully) so it’s time for this to be in the public domain and may go some way to explain a few things when it comes to the policing of hunts.

I have long suspected that there was a high ranking police officer within our local hunt – The Oakley. In the past their supporters would often brag about it and claim it was down to this person that no action was ever taken against the hunt. You may remember I’ve blogged about this several times in the past and thought I was getting closer to revealing who this was. Each time my lines of inquiry came up short, sometimes I was well wide of the mark but that was largely due to information I was supplied which turned out to be inaccurate. (See here & here.) My suspicions initially arose when multiple police units would attend the hunt as well as air support which would stay on scene for a significant amount of time and at significant expense to the tax payer so it was easy to assume that only someone with some serious clout could authorise these kind of resources to be deployed and potentially leave other parts of the county dangerously low in policing.

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A incident from February 2015 during a visit to the Oakley Hunt. A helicopter was also present on the day. A fox was actually chased between these police cars.

I had never really given up trying to identify the person behind this, although due to one thing and another it had be pushed to the back burner and we seemed to be making progress in our dealings with Bedfordshire Police.

A Breakthrough

The Oakley’s opening meet of the season is always traditionally held at a venue called the Dower House in Melchbourne, Bedfordshire. The location is in the same village as the Oakley Kennels and in the heart of their country and support. This location has recently opened its doors as a business for hosting weddings. Their website is here.

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Quite a posh looking venue.

Now I seem to remember someone mentioning the owner as being a “Jason” and as this was now a registered business I popped over to companies house and did a search to see who indeed owned the business. Sure enough a Jason Gordon was listed as a Director, along with a female who I assumed was his wife, Alexandra Gordon.

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Screen shot from Companies House listing.

Now the logical next step was to do a quick Google search for Jason Gordon to see what popped up. Needless to say I think I’d found my man.

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Detective Chief Inspector Jason Gordon

So things were getting interesting now. We have a very senior police officer (Detective Chief Inspector) with connections to a hunt. Was he still a serving officer? A search for a Linked In profile produced this:

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It would seem he left the police around March 2015 and then took up the role of an Inspector with the HMIC. For those that don’t know the HMIC is the independent body which;

“Independently assesses the effectiveness and efficiency of police forces and fire & rescue services – in the public interest.”

So in essence he works for the service that polices the police and was definitely an acting officer when the incidents of the multiple attending units took place. His role at that time was head of the Serious Crime Office for the tri-force area, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire. This guy had some serious clout and ironically also worked for the professional standards department!

Now bells were ringing loudly in my head, this guy looked very familiar and I recollected a couple of incidents from the past where we were treated exceptionally badly by the police present on the day. He was present at at least one of these but referred to himself ‘Jim’. Jason Gordon was known to his friends as Jim. So not only was Jim hosting the hunt as his house but it would seem he was a regular rider and someone of some influence not only with the police but also within the hunt. Further investigation revealed he was also listed as a master of the Oakley, from 1996-98 and again between 2004-06 which was incidentally the transition period when the ban on hunting with hounds came in.

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Jim Gordon at the Oakley Kennels last March.

If you look at the photo above you’ll notice the police vehicle in the background parked in the Oakley kennels. Had Jim been speaking to the officers present and using his previous position to influence they way they behaved? A couple of seasons ago a previous Master of the Oakley, Guy Napier was less an than impressed with the violent behaviour of the thugs that followed the Oakley and did their dirty work. This included assaulting monitors/sabs, theft of their equipment and preventing them from accessing public rights of way. However Mr Napier was clear he didn’t want the hunt to be associated with these people and in his defence they were instructed not to attend further Oakley meets. Unfortunately Mr Napier left the Oakley the following season and now the thugs have been welcomed back even though some now have multiple convictions for assault.

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Oakley Opening meet November 2017

I think it would be safe to assume that Mr Gordon (given his connections) would be well aware of the violent record of these people and willingly accepts them and their behaviour provided they are of service to the hunt. Here you can see Jim (with a female) once again riding with the Oakley. In front of him on the left hand image is Kelvin Pestel, hunt supporter and well known thug who is often present and likes to target female sabs in particular. Despite any protestations to the contrary, Mr Gordon is no doubt linked to them and accepts their thuggish actions.

So the implications seem fairly clear. Have we had a previously high ranking police officer and member of professional standards department bending the rules to suit his dirty little hobby and also wasting large sums of public money at the same time? Was he still using this influence to his advantage with local policing and was he advising the hunt on the best way to carry on hunting while remaining free from prosecution? The Oakley openly hunt and make no pretense of laying a trail or using any other exemptions. The image below was taken during one of their hunts last season, a day when Jim was once again riding with the hunt.

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Fox escapes the Oakley hounds – saved from death by sabs

We have built a good working relationship recently with Bedfordshire police with meetings and open discussions regarding hunting and the policing of, and I don’t believe any of the officers we met with were aware of this situation. If they were they certainly didn’t make it known to me. To say there was (and maybe still is) a conflict of interest here is an understatement and while people like Jason “Jim” Gordon are riding with hunts its easy to see why so little action against them takes place.

Although the HMIC is an independent body you may with to write to them and ask a few questions. They can be contacted here (Link). Should this man be part of an organisation whose role is described below? I don’t think so.

“Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) independently assesses the effectiveness and efficiency of police forces and fire & rescue services – in the public interest.

In preparing our reports, we ask the questions that citizens would ask, and publish the answers in accessible form, using our expertise to interpret the evidence and make recommendations for improvement.

We provide authoritative information to allow the public to compare the performance of their police force – and, in future, their fire & rescue service – against others. Our evidence is used to drive improvements in the services they provide to the public.”

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It’s been quite a crazy couple of weeks, I’d had little time to put fingers to keyboard so it’s about time I caught up and updated you all whats been going on in the world of animal protection.

Without doubt the biggest recent story was the unprovoked attack by Fitzwilliam Hunt supporters on our Friends North Cambs Hunt Sabs. They’d been sabbing with us earlier in the day and we’d done a fine job on the Oakley but after they left us they popped by to find out what the Fitzwilliam were up to. It made national news and was the lead item on the ITV Anglia television news complete with interview of the driver involved. If you haven’t seen the video footage I’ve included it below. I was happy to help our comrades to edit and put the footage together for them.

As you can see it’s revealing footage and the assailants are clearly out to cause serious harm to non-violent activists. It once again shows the levels these people will stoop to in defence of their sick pastime. As I understand it the driver of the pimped up Land Rover handed himself in to police the following day. All the others have been identified and their identities passed on to the authorities however at the time of writing I’m unaware of any arrests or charges made. I’m well aware of the time it takes to investigate crimes and the need for due diligence however I’m fairly sure had the roles been reversed several doors would have been kicked in some time ago. We can only hope that a proper investigation follows and those responsible held to account for their dangerous and violent actions.

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Speaking of being held to account self styled and appointed hunt steward Shaun Stacey was sentenced at Northants Magistrates Court last week for multiple assaults on sabs on separate occasions. Now Mr Stacey and I are well known to each other. He’s threatened me on many occasions and also mentioned my partner in doing so. Of course this kind of thing only stiffens my resolve but it was nice to see him have the embarrassment of having to wear a tag for 4 months, get a £1010 fine and a community order. Only the presence of Stephen Welford the Countryside Alliance go to lawyer at the hearing prevented a more serious sentence. Amusingly he’s apparently physically incapable of carrying out community order work (fit enough go assault people though) so has to undergo 10 sessions of compassion therapy. Judging by his continued defiance on Facebook I’d suggest he may need a few more. Word is he’s also on disability benefit, I wonder if that would be affected by the money he receives from the hunts which employ his thuggery services? Further to that he’s also in court next week to answer yet more charges so there is the possibility that there could be more bad news for Mr Stacey.

Another interesting point to note was how quickly his so called friends and fellow stewards dropped him, denying he was part of their group. Just a couple of weeks ago while in discussion with one of them (which I recorded on video) their sentiment was very clear, “he’s nothing to do with any of us”. Must be nice to be popular.

The fact that the CA are now endorsing this kind of violence (they would generally wash their hands of this kind of thing in the past) once again stinks of desperation on their part. Tim Bonner likes to continually bang on about masked sabs but the simple fact is the only ones relying on violence and intimidation are the pro-hunt side and now they seem to be openly supporting and defending it. They truly are an insidious organisation but are catastrophically missing the point to all this. The British Public overwhelmingly support the ban on hunting and bad PR like this should be roundly condemned. Their silence and indeed open support only furthers the interests of those who opposed them.

Finally here’s an interesting images taken only last Saturday on the Tyringham Estate in Buckinghamshire.

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It’s Thames Valley Police attending an Oakley Hunt meet on the estate. They were called by us as they openly hunted and caused havoc in the villages nearby as hounds ran riot causing mayhem to road users and the villagers alike.

The woman on the horse speaking to the Officers is Oakley Hunt Master Caroline Evans from Wooton Green. The woman on foot is Lucy Hill, land owner and and owner of local Estate Agents Micheal Graham. Here’s the info from Companies House.

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It would seem that the officers who attended believed that no offence has taken place as no foxes had been killed (mainly due to us saving them). Therefore one has to ask; if someone was walking down the street with a firearm on display acting in a hostile manner would the officers refuse to act until that person shot someone? Of course not.  One of our sabs proceeded to explain the relevant laws to the officers but as usual they didn’t seem at all interested and left shortly afterwards, no doubt suckered in by the complete bag of lies told to them by Evans and Hill.

So perhaps if you’re looking to sell your home it’s probably a good idea to avoid this particular agents bearing in mind that not only do they host the Oakley but also the Northants Mink Hounds who hunt both Mink and Otter in the nearby river in the summer months along with the shooting interests on the estate. They are, by any definition, huge enablers of wildlife abuse.

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Old Timmy and his cronies at the so called Countryside Alliance may think they have the bragging rights over the recent National Trust vote on trail hunting because they think they won. The truth is, they lost.

It’s emerging that many members didn’t receive their voting forms and the whole legality of the voting system is being called into question but even if you ignore these anomalies the simple fact is without the discretionary votes of the pro-hunt NT board the outcome would have been very different indeed. The margin was close, 299 votes from a total of over 60,000. The NT may think they have dealt with the situation for now but it’s certainly not going away and have probably made a rod for their own back.

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They will now have to show they are serious about the new rules regarding trail hunting, no animal based scents, no terrier men and publishing dates and locations of all hunt meets on NT land. Of course now the hunts and CA are asking for those conditions to be changed but, if they truly believe they are going to be legally trail hunting what would they have to hide? We all know the real reasons and make no bones about it, the NT will be held to account over the licensing and conditions. They will be scrutinised very closely indeed and as it stands no hunt has made any application for licenses to hunt on NT land. We’ll see what happens next.

Moving on from that an interesting situation arose yesterday after a sab colleague of mine reminded me of the poster from the Oakley Hunt summer show.

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We decided to do a little digging on the main sponsor – Green Energy UK (plc). This lead to some interesting findings which we thought the public should be aware of and in turn published the statement this statement on the Beds & Bucks Hunt Sabs Facebook page (see here). We also published links on Twitter for maximum exposure. Needless to say your average consumer doesn’t like being lied to regarding claims of being ethical but also supporting fox hunting. Lots of bad reviews were left on the company’s Facebook page and tweets were rolling in thick and fast. Finally Green Energy issued a statement and the B&B responded accordingly (see here). At this time Green Energy were actively removing the all the bad reviews in an attempt to save face. Their statement was clearly 2 fingers up to the consumers, they weren’t going to budge on their position and their support of the Oakley no matter how they tried to spin it however they severely underestimated the indignation of the people and aligning themselves with a blood sports lobbying group (the so called CA) was a huge mistake.

This only fanned the flames and people power took hold. They were flooded with more complaints and bad reviews until they were finally backed into a corner and once again had to issue another statement to which B&B responded once more (see here). We’re in no doubt that the ethos of the people in charge (including the husband of Oakley Hunt master Lady Lydia Thompson, Sir Peter Thompson) will not have changed and they are no doubt still pro hunt, however we have shown that the general public won’t stand for lies and that hunting is pretty much universally hated by everyone except the wildlife killers themselves.

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Doug Stewart – Green Energy UK CEO

It will also show other companies that supporting blood sports is bad for business and they risk losing customers. Just like Theresa May found out in the general election, blood sports are political and financial poison. Those that support them are finding themselves increasingly isolated. There’s more than one way to skin the proverbial cat. We’ll sab them in the fields and we’ll hit these organisations financially as well. We’ll pursue every possible avenue and make life as difficult as possible until the inevitable outcome is reached.