Posts Tagged ‘Palmer Marlborough Beagles’

Another interesting day in the field last weekend when we paid another visit to our friends the Palmer Marlborough and Sandhurst Beagles. Clearly my arrest on the previous visit wasn’t enough to dampen our spirits and with the Wye Beagles throwing in the towel (see story here) we felt it necessary to keep the pressure on until all these archaic organisations do the same. Knowing there’ll be someone waiting for them every time they try and satisfy their sick blood lust will no doubt have a large bearing on their future and the sooner they admit defeat the better for all concerned. I’ll apologise first off for the lateness of the blog update, I’ve been busy editing the videos I shot during the day plus, and contrary to the pro hunt belief, I actually work full time.

Anyway on with the show . . .

As usual we staked out the kennels of the Palmer Marlborough’s, awaiting the dog van to leave the farm where they’re stationed. Using a private back road they managed to leave without us noticing however we picked them up moments later in convoy with another vehicle which we suspected would be a blocker. Getting on their tail our suspicions proved correct, the blocking vehicle, a white flatbed Landrover was in a position between us and the target dog van. The blocker vehicle slowed down to a crawl allowing the dog van to escape. However we don’t give up so easily and our quick thinking driver saw an opportunity to pass. I’ll leave it to the video below to show what happened next.

You can see by the actions of the driver of the Landrover that they’re getting extremely desperate and if it wasn’t for the skill of our driver the situation could have ended a lot worse than just some scrapes and a smashed wing mirror. Needless to say Mr Trevor Gore probably wished he hadn’t forced the collision when we pulled him over and 4 guys dressed in black combats came over for a polite chat. However we were now out of the game having lost contact with the target vehicle, or so we thought. Moments later it came careering across the field at a high rate of knots before re-joining the road. Either there was going to be some very battered Beagles in the back or it was indeed empty, we suspected and hoped for the latter.

Sandhurst Beagle Meet

Nice dogs, shame about the humans

Having already had an impact we changed tack and joined up with other units to spoil the fun of the Sandhurst Beagles. We found their meet thanks to some good intelligence and upon our arrival the field and support were enjoying drinks in the sun prior to their intended killing. Times are obviously getting tough as the numbers were well down and many of the support looked ready for the grave themselves. Clearly our arrival wasn’t exactly what they wanted to see and upon noticing the opposition shoulders sagged noticeably as a black sab shaped cloud permeated their mood. The Whipper In, a charming chap called Mark White, resplendent in plus fours and the most disgusting day-glow yellow trainers came out to voice his displeasure, shaking with rage he made his best attempt to look tough and take photos however we all saw through his bravado.

The ever charming Mark White

The ever charming Mark White

We all had a good giggle at his expense which as you can imagine did nothing to improve his demeanour and once again he proceeded to call on his friends in the boys in blue. However the huntsman had decided to take the dogs for a walk so we set off to follow them. With sabs stationed at every potential footpath junction and a river and railway line limiting access to the south we effectively had them boxed in and although we lost sight of them in private woodland they were clearly not hunting and when the weather took a turn for the worse they headed for home. Another successful day for us and safety for the local Hares. The sab wagons woes weren’t finished for the day however as a wheel had to be changed due to a flat tyre.

Not animal friendly

Not animal friendly

In other news it saddens me to hear that the Government and NFU are still hell bent on killing more of our Badgers. Although the threat of ten more cull zones seems to have been averted the word is they’ll carry on in Somerset and Gloucestershire with Dorset also looking likely to be included. Needless to say plans are in place to counter this once more. Now is the time to stand up and be counted, get off your arse and get on the front line. Make it physically and financially impossible for the slaughter to continue. The more people we can get out there the bigger difference we can make, this is so much more now than a wildlife issue. This is about doing what’s right and showing that an unelected minority must never have the power and influence over scientific and public opinion. Please contact me for advice on groups to join and action to take. In the weeks to come I’ll be sharing the knowledge gained from last year’s cull plus legal advice and dealing with the police.

These were the words I was faced with shortly followed by being roughly grabbed, arms forced behind my back, preparing to be handcuffed.

But that was later in what turned out to be quite an eventful day. A long blog post this so please bear with me . . .

I was once again out sabbing, this time I joined the Berkshire Hunt Sabs for some fun and games in the lovely Hampshire countryside. This is quintessential England; however the peaceful chocolate box images of rolling hills, green pastures and winding lanes hold a dark secret. Criminal activity perpetrated by those who get their kicks from chasing a wild animal to exhaustion before it finally succumbs to the teeth of a multitude of dogs. These people think they are above the law and continue to practice their perverse past time without interference from those that are supposed to uphold the law.  However some people cannot let this stand and the incident from this day is repeated up and down the country on a regular basis, often with a similar outcome. I hope my recounting of events will open a few eyes or highlight the real issues going on in our countryside every week.

We had several cars out and after a brief tactics meeting we started by staking out a route used by the Palmer Marlborough Beagles. We didn’t have to wait long when we got the call that our target vehicle (dog van) was heading our direction. True to form it passed us moments later and the game was on. We kept the target vehicle in sight and followed it to the suspected hunting ground. With several access routes blocked by floods and with some jiggery pokery from our driver we stayed nicely on our quarry, I wonder if it gave them a small feeling of being hunted? It was of course pretty obvious now they were being tailed and they proceeded to drive round with nowhere particular to go. We were in constant communication with our other units and soon had a car in front and behind of the target vehicle. They were certainly not going to do any hunting today. This was prime sabbing, stopping the hunt before they even get started is a great way to start the day.

With one unit still in contact we peeled off to go and look for the Sandhurst Beagles. It took us a little time to reach their hunting area and with a third unit now in the game we managed to find the meet, populated by the standard sour faces of middle aged meanies and a plethora of Barbour and tweed. Skirting round quickly we located the hounds and three of us decamped and swung into action. I’m no spring chicken but by boy I can move when I have to and luckily my companions had seen significantly less summers than I so were more than capable themselves. We entered the hunting field only to flush a Hare ourselves, we froze, gave it time to leave the area which luckily for us wasn’t towards the hounds then covered it’s tracks with a good dosing of citronella. Breathing a sigh of relief we continued on and right on cue the beagles went into full cry. We raced across the field, shouting at the huntsman to call off his animals, they were very close to the Hare but we got in amongst them and disrupted proceedings enough for it to make good its escape. Of course what followed was the standard trespass nonsense from the hunters and their support and a whole host of other dim witted claims. We know our rights and we exercised them. The hunt was now of course stumped and promptly gave up. Sabs 2 Hunts 0. Just to be certain we followed them back to the meet whereupon I had a nice conversation with the land owner. I explained to him that he was permitting an illegal activity on his land under the Hunting with Dogs Act 2004 and as such could be held responsible. He asked us to leave the land and return to the footpath as he wanted to exercise his polo ponies, I said I would be more than happy to do so once the hunt had left and everything seemed agreeable. By this time a few more had joined us and we watched the hunt pack up from the footpath.

Packing up for the day.

Packing up for the day.

Then the police turned up.

Prior to the Badger Cull I’d had very little contact with the police (apart from a couple of minor driving indiscretions from my youth). I’d consider myself a reasonably decent individual, I work full time, pay taxes and a mortgage and I have no doubt that there are some equally good guys in the force but unfortunately, due to my recent experiences they seem to be in a minority. I shall be taking legal advice on what happened next but what follows is an account of the proceedings from my perspective. A complaint had been made against us by the hunt which they were following up and as part of that required us to give them our details. Well, as I understand it that was an unlawful request. The aggravated trespass claims wouldn’t wash; we’d complied with the land owners wishes and had done no damage to property or surroundings. We refused to give our details explaining that wasn’t a legal requirement. The officer in question identified himself as the “Hunt Liaison Officer”.

Hunt Liaison Officer.

Lets consider that for a moment. The hunts, organising and taking part in a criminal activity have their own liaison officer. Warning signals went off in my head. This is organised criminality that the police are aware of and supporting. The charge was “Anti-social Behaviour”. The police had clearly thought of this in advance.

They can take your details if they reasonably suspect you of anti-social behaviour which is defined as behaviour likely to cause alarm, harassment or distress. Anti-social behaviour differs from a section 5 POA 1986 offence in that it does not involve being threatening, abusive or insulting. Anti-social behaviour is not a criminal offence but suspicion of it does give the police power to require you to give them your details. Refusal to do so is an offence. However I stated we were holding a peaceful and lawful demonstration against the hunt which is a guaranteed right and as such not anti-social behaviour so the requirement for our details was rendered invalid. The police of course paid no attention to the illegal activity of the hunt from which we had several witnesses and video evidence. We asked what action would be taken against them. They wanted our evidence – pfft no chance, we’d never see that again. At one point they tried to seize my phone, I was roughly handled but managed to spirit it away to a colleague. We had reached an impasse and finally I was grabbed and prepared to be cuffed. However I wasn’t. I offered the officer several opportunities to use his discretion, no-one had been hurt, the hunt had gone home, nothing damaged. Let’s deescalate and go our separate ways. They were having non of it. This kind of short sighted, overly biased policing is doing huge damage to their reputation and in light of the news regarding the Stephen Lawrence case they really need to be upping their game. More of our group arrived, a highly experienced colleague explained matters once more. No dice.

The Hunt Liaison Officer

The Hunt Liaison Officer

The police did get my details and I’m not happy about that. I made it perfectly clear I believed they were acting in an unlawful manner and I was doing so under duress to avoid arrest. They then tried to de-arrest me . . . hold on fella, have you read me my rights? No you haven’t, so at no point was I under arrest in the first place. These guys had the memory of a nematode!

7 officers were present when we finally went our separate ways. It was an experience I’d rather not repeat but will no doubt happen again and I’ll be ready. It was a successful day for us. No kills. We achieved our aims and that made us happy and secure in the knowledge that we had indeed won the day regardless of the spurious charges from the boys in blue. We’ll see how that pans out and I’ll let you know when I can of any updates. In the meantime stick your hand in your pocket and donate to your local sab groups for some fuel or a video camera. Join the HSA or the LACS, every little helps and if you really want to get involved do what I did, become another Accidental Activist.