Norfolk

Bernard Matthews faces court action over bugging claim

A Norfolk animal rights campaigner is taking turkey producer Bernard Matthews to court claiming she was harassed and intimidated by the company.

Wendy Valentine of Hillside Animal Sanctuary, Frettenham, also claims her car was "bugged" by security firm RDW, which was working for the firm.

Bernard Matthews has confirmed its use of RDW but "emphatically denies" Ms Valentine's allegations.

The case is set to be heard at the High Court next year.

Hillside Animal Sanctuary investigators went undercover at one of Bernard Matthews' turkey farms in 2006 and filmed two poultry workers using a bat to play baseball with the birds. Two people were later prosecuted.

The following year, staff were again videoed abusing turkeys at Bernard Matthews, by undercover workers from Hillside.

'Illegal actions'

In a statement, Bernard Matthews said: "While grateful to Wendy Valentine and Hillside for the exposure in 2006 of illegal and unauthorized actions by subcontractors, Bernard Matthews deplores any attempt to gain illicit entry to its premises."

Bernard Matthews said it used the services of Richmond Day and Wilson Limited (RDW), as well as those of several other firms, for security on its farms.

A spokesperson for Hillside said: "We felt we had no option but to resort to legal proceedings after Hillside's founder, Wendy Valentine, had her car bugged with an electronic tracking device earlier this year."

PSB Law, which is acting on behalf of the animal welfare group, said: "We can confirm we have lodged papers at the High Court against private investigators RDW Limited and the turkey producer Bernard Matthews on behalf of our client.

"The case relates to the covert tracking of our client's car, misuse of private information and harassment. We have nothing further to say at this time."

Security company RDW is yet to comment.

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