Three men armed with dogs and spades convicted in badger sett case

Three Castleford men have been convicted of interfering with a badge sett, after being spotted armed with dogs and spades.

By Nick Frame
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 1:01 pm

Jamie Lee Davies, 33, of North Street, along with 29-year-old Nathaniel James Holmes of St Andrew's Road, and 28-year-old Brandon Reece Abbott of Watling Road, pleaded guilty at Scarborough Magistrates Court on Friday, May 6.

The three were spotted by a member of the public in private woodland near Church Fenton on Boxing Day, 2019.

They had five dogs with them and were carrying spades which immediately aroused suspicion.

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A badger appearing from its sett. (library pic)

The police and the landowner were called and they found three spades and a black terrier dog with serious injuries, sitting close to a known active badger sett.

A North Yorkshire Police officer was able to stop the men in their vehicle as they attempted to leave the area and seized the vehicle and the remaining four dogs inside who were taken to police kennels.

An expert witness was called to the area of the badger sett to identify whether it was an active sett. While at the scene, police located the black terrier dog who was quickly transported to a local vet.

The dog was covered in dried mud and was found to have injuries to his jaw and teeth which were consistent with those often caused by a badger.

The injured dog found near the badger sett.

The dog was treated and has since been rehomed.

Jamie Lee Davies was fined £428, Nathaniel James Holmes received a fine of £252 and Brandon Reece Abbott received a fine of £656.

Afterwards, a North Yorkshire Police wildlife crime officer, said: “It has taken a long time to get this case through the courts due to Covid and other delays but I’m pleased that the three men have finally faced the consequences of their cruel actions.

“Interfering with a badger sett is not only illegal but it causes immense suffering to both the badgers involved and the dogs who are sent down the setts.

“The black terrier we found at the scene had serious injuries to his jaw and teeth which the vet identified as consistent with those seen by dogs involved in badger baiting.

"The people who take part in this abhorrent ‘sport’ will send a dog down into a badger sett in order to ‘flush out’ the badger and use locator collars to keep track of where they are underground.

“Sometimes the badger will be allowed to run away but often they will be brought to the surface and the dogs encouraged to fight them, sometimes ending in the badger’s death and nearly always ending with both the dog and the badger suffering serious injuries.

“The dog we found had a number of older injuries which had not been treated, causing him immense pain.

“I’d like to thank the quick-thinking members of the public who spotted what these men were up to and called the police and I’d also like to thank our expert witnesses who supported our investigation.”