York & North Yorkshire

Men and youth guilty of killing badgers at Howsham

Six men and a youth responsible for the deaths of two badgers have been convicted of animal cruelty offences at Scarborough Magistrates' Court.

The men had set a pack of dogs on the badgers, one heavily pregnant, at Howsham, near York, on 30 January 2011.

They were charged with a range of offences under the Protection of Badgers Act (1992) and the Hunting Act (2004).

The seven are due to be sentenced in January.

'Unbridled savagery'

Scarborough Magistrates' Court was told the men had initially put a terrier down a badger sett, disturbing the heavily pregnant sow.

The sett was then dug open and the female attacked and killed by the pack of 13 dogs.

The group then found a second badger, which was shot after being severely injured by the dogs.

It was its screams that attracted the attention of two men in the area, who contacted the police and kept officers informed of what was happening.

Sgt Paul Stephenson, of North Yorkshire Police, said: "These were acts of unbridled savagery which have no place in today's society.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the witnesses for the bravery they showed when reporting the initial incident."

Eighth person acquitted

Alan Alexander, 32, of Bramham Close, York; Richard Simpson, 37, of Wains Road, York; Paul Ian Tindall, 31, of Bramham Grove, York; William Edward Anderson, 26, of Hillside, Cropton Lane, Pickering, and a 17-year-old youth from York were all convicted of wilfully killing a badger, hunting a mammal with dogs, digging for badgers and interfering with a badger sett.

Alexander and Simpson were also convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

Christopher Martin Holmes, 28, of Bell Farm Avenue, York, and Malcolm David Warner, 28, of Princess Drive, York, pleaded guilty at the start of the trial to wilfully killing a badger, hunting a mammal with dogs and digging for badgers.

An eighth person, James Doyle from Westfield Avenue, Knottingley, was acquitted.

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