Posts Tagged ‘Puckeridge Hunt’

So, we’re only a few weeks into the main hunting season and it’s all kicking off already. We’re getting the usual hunt violence, illegal killing and inconsistent policing, which will be my focus on this blog.

If you’re a follower you’ll already know we’ve been trying to break down the historical differences between the police and those in wildlife protection and, by-and-large we’ve had some success. Bedfordshire police are acting on violence shown by the hired hunt thugs and starting to understand the reality of hunting within the county. While they may not be able to arrest the hunters themselves due to the poorly written legislation they aren’t interfering with our operations to oppose them.

However the same cannot be said for other forces across the country. A couple of weeks ago we sabbed the Puckeridge Hunt, Tim Bonner’s (CEO so called Countryside Alliance) home hunt (full report here) and the police on the day showed a combination of naivety and ignorance. They were naive in that they should never have accepted a ride on the back of a hunt terrier man’s quad bike because it looks very bad for them and puts into question their impartiality (especially when terrier men have no legitimate role in a trail hunt) and ignorant of the laws that were in question on the day. Claiming they have powers to take your details is of course complete nonsense (and we told them so) and asking us to leave private land is also a civil matter, it’s nothing to do with the police.

I explained the situation to them regarding the difference between criminal (illegal hunting) and civil (trespass) and we were exercising our right as citizens to prevent the criminal offence from taking place by trespassing. I don’t believe Hertfordshire Police were acting in bias of the hunt, the officers that attended were just not equipped with the right knowledge to make a reasonable call and unfortunately made bad snap decisions based on preconceived historical prejudice. I’ll be discussing the matter further with Herts rural WCO in due course.

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Herts Police being lied to (probably).

If you read though the report from other sab groups around the country some areas have what can only be described as truly biased forces. There’s forces are openly acting as a private security service and facilitating illegal hunting by their very actions. Norfolk Police would appear to be one of those forces. Our colleagues at Norfolk & Suffolk Hunt Sabs are fighting a constant battle not only against the hunters but also the local police force. Last weekend Norfolk Police arrested a sab at a meet of the Dunston Harriers for Aggravated Trespass.

The offence is as follows: A person commits the offence of aggravated trespass if he trespasses on land [in the open air] and, in relation to any lawful activity which persons are engaging in or are about to engage in on that or adjoining land [in the open air], does there anything which is intended by him to have the effect—

(a) of intimidating those persons or any of them so as to deter them or any of them from engaging in that activity,

(b) of obstructing that activity, or

(c) of disrupting that activity.

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Norfolk Police riding on hunt terrier man’s quad bike.

Considering the sabs had earlier made calls to the police of illegal hunting which were completely ignored (they had already illegally killed a Hare and the hounds were covered in that animals blood) their claims could easily be justified and therefore the above offence cannot be considered by the police officers. In spite of this an arrest was made, the sab removed in handcuffs and spent several hours locked up in a cell.

Norfolk Police have also released the following statement:

Police were called to farmland in Roudham at about 12.20pm yesterday, Saturday 18 November, following reports of a confrontation involving two groups.

Officers attended and while at the scene, were advised of allegations that a hare had been killed. Both parties were spoken to and a search was carried out. No evidence was found. Anyone with evidence is asked to contact police on 101.

We are aware of images on social media of our officers on a quad bike. While recognising the concerns, the officers had been searching in fields and got into difficulty due to the muddy terrain. At this point, they were assisted by the landowner using a quad bike which at no point travelled on a public road or highway. 

This statement just stinks quite frankly. Regardless of whether the officers were on a public road or not it still shows a level of collusion with the hunt in question. It would also be a question as to whether the police would be insured to be riding around on such a vehicle in that manner. Also what evidence did they think they were going to find of a hare which had been pulled apart by a pack of hounds? The Dunston Harriers could have made up any old tale and it seems the police would have believed them. Remember in the case of AT the burden falls on the prosecution to prove that the activity being interfered with was legal, and in this case a claim had already been made to the contrary which was insufficiently investigated. (See similar case explained here)

Please contact Norfolk Police to complain.

Facebook: Norfolk Constabulary

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Email the chief constable Simon Bailey.

PCC Lorne Green: opccn@norfolk.pnn.police.uk

Another force which appears to be openly biased is Sussex Police. At the opening meet of the Crawley a& Horsham Hunt a saboteur was assaulted by huntsmen using their horses as weapons, a common tactic for hunts. Bearing my this particular hunt have been convicted in the past of illegal hunting its not a massive leap of faith to assume they would continue to do so. In this case the sab was arrested for assault on the hunters and – you’ll like this, criminal damage to the hunters pocket. Take a look at the video.

It’s very clear that the huntsman on the horse was acting aggressively to the sab and the sab was only trying to defend himself. In such instances serious injury and potentially worse can occur if the sab was knocked to the ground and trampled by the horse, he, and those with him had every right to take whatever action was required to keep themselves safe. It speaks volumes that when sabs or monitors make calls to the police very little is done, if anything at all and yet even when the hunters are the perpetrators of the crime the police will act swiftly in coming to their defence. Time for some more complaints.

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Cheif Constable Giles York Email.

PCC Katey Bourne: pcc@sussex-pcc.gov.uk

This level of inconsistent policing simply cannot be allowed to continue. We all know the Hunting Act needs strengthening but in the mean time we need to have a national policing initiative which will allow an even handed approach to all concerned along with better understanding of the laws in place. Forces showing an obvious bias should come under increased scrutiny and those responsible removed from their positions. Bias from various forces in nothing new and no doubt it will continue but with the overwhelming support of the British public we can get things changed so start emailing, commenting and tweeting, if its something the police don’t like it’s bad PR.

It’s amazing how fast some people can change their approach when dealing with others. Obviously when you’re in uniform and a public servant you need to assess any given situation and react accordingly so it’s never a good idea to go in all guns blazing and then have to back down with your tail between your legs when you get found out. This was the case last weekend when we were ordered to remove our face coverings in quite a forthright manner by a member of the Hertfordshire force. We explained our rights to this chap and at once he became all friendly and accommodating. Unless a section 60AA is in place (which needs to be organised in advance by a senior officer) the police have no justification in ordering you to remove your face covering. Thing is, the police will often try and push their luck, hoping you will be intimidated and comply with any request, regardless of legality. The same goes for giving your details, you really don’t have to do this unless there are a very specific set of circumstances. Some of our group were also told they weren’t allowed to use a public right of way and again this was totally unlawful and their orders were ignored.

Hounds rioting on a Roe Deer

Hounds rioting on a Roe Deer

I did however have a reasonably polite conversation with the local wildlife crime officer regarding the hunt we were attending. I showed him footage of the hounds trying to dig into a badger sett where a fox had gone to ground and he seemed sympathetic to our cause however sitting in a car won’t get you any evidence of illegal hunting when the hunts are well out of sight and looking for foxes. We stopped a potential dig out when we arrived on the scene just as the terrier men on quads were turning up and the hounds showing lots of interest in a particular sett entrance. The huntsman at once called the hounds away knowing his plans were well and truly scuppered. Apart from stopping one vehicle the police paid us little heed from then on in and left us to our work. Our biggest concern of the day was when the huntsman and whipper in lost control of several hounds and they rioted on a Roe Deer. The terrified animal was chased across several fields before finally getting away with some sab help. Just another potential victim of the hunts and even though it wasn’t their intended quarry it’s another reason why the law needs to be tightened.

Killing something by accident is no excuse, although as far as we could see no attempt had been made to even lay a trail so they were acting illegally from the outset. Remember, using more than two hounds is illegal and with no trail being laid or bird of prey in attendance (a ridiculous exemption as a bird large enough to take a fox, namely an Eagle of some sort, is wholly unsuitable for use in these environments) they could have been legally stopped from operating completely should the police have chosen to do so.

All in all it was a good day for us. Only one stroppy supporter felt the need to try and wind us up as most seemed to have seen a few too many summers and clearly in no position to get involved in any aggravation and the local wildlife remained safe for the time being. This was the same hunt we ruined on Boxing Day (the Cambridge and Enfield Chace) except this time they had a joint meet with the Puckeridge hunt on who’s territory they were using. Packing a hunt up early is always very welcome and a surefire sign of an effective operation, needless to say I utilised my extra free time recovering from all those miles run and stuffing my face with a well earned veggie curry.