#TheList badger baiting ring Alan ‘Bok’ Alexander, born 03/04/1979, of Bramham Grove, York YO26 5BH, Richard Lee Simpson, born 24/11/1974, of Bramham Grove, York YO26 5BH, Paul Ian Tindall, born 30/03/1978, of Boroughbridge Road, York YO26 6AL, William Edward Anderson, born 29/05/1985, formerly of Hillside Farm in Pickering but as of April 2020 residing at the Jam House, Alne Hills, Great Alne, Alcester, Stratford on Avon B49 6JT, Christopher ‘Tiffa’ Martin Holmes, born 04/03/1983, of Byland Avenue, York YO31 9AY and Malcolm David Warner, born 21/02/1983, of Tedder Road, York YO24 3JD
Scarborough Magistrates’ Court heard how the group of six men and a 17-year-old boy dug out two badgers and laughed as they set a pack of 13 dogs on them. The horrific incident took place on farmland at Howsham, near York, in January 2011.
An RSPCA inspector involved in the case said it was the worst incident of badger baiting he had ever seen.
Sobia Ahmed, prosecuting, told the court that two witnesses, including wildlife photographer Robert Fuller, heard the sound of dogs barking excitedly and a badger squealing in distress and went to investigate.
When they reached the scene, they saw two large dogs attacking a badger.
Ms Ahmed said: ‘They had hold of it in their mouths and were shaking it violently. They said the dogs were playing tug of war with the badger.’
Mr Fuller recalled in court how the men ‘laughingly’ encouraged the beasts before they spotted him and fled the scene.
After some time, the badger was shot dead by Anderson and the men, who had become aware of the witnesses and tried to cover their tracks by throwing the dead badger into the undergrowth.
They then buried a second dead badger – a pregnant animal which had been torn to pieces by the dogs – back into the hole from which it had been dug.
Ms Ahmed said witnesses called the police and the men and teenager were arrested a short time later.
Police and RSPCA inspectors who visited the scene found animal intestines and badger foetuses scattered around and areas of congealed blood, believed to be from where the badger had been shot.
When they recovered the two badgers, one was found to have been shot at close range and had a fractured skull and jaw.
The other had part of its abdomen missing and injuries consistent with being attacked by a dog.
Mr Fuller later gave his pictures to the police and RSPCA and they were used to convict the gang.
When they investigated, the authorities established the men had killed three adult badgers and three unborn cubs.
Ms Ahmed said the pregnant badger suffered ‘a sustained attack by a number of dogs that had caused the badger to be torn to pieces and eventually it bled to death’ while the other had a ‘gunshot wound to the head immediately after a severe and sustained attack by a number of dogs’.
Ms Ahmed described the operation as a ‘sophisticated enterprise’ in which the men used equipment to track down the badgers.
Speaking after the sentencing, RSPCA Inspector Geoff Edmond said: “I was there on the day and was responsible for removing a pregnant badger which had been buried in a hole, which had been ripped to bits by dogs.
“That’s horrific, barbaric, and these badgers had been tortured by these dogs on that day.”
Alexander, Simpson, Tindall and Anderson were jailed for 16 weeks after being found guilty 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.
All four men were each ordered to pay £750 costs and £100 compensation.
Holmes and Warner were handed 12-week custodial sentences suspended for 12 months after they pleaded guilty to wilfully killing a badger, digging for badgers and interfering with a badger sett. They were told to pay £250 costs and £100 compensation
The 17-year-old boy, who could not be named for legal reasons, was given a youth rehabilitation order.
An eighth person, James Doyle from Westfield Avenue, Knottingley, was acquitted.