Category Archives: curlews

Grimsby/Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire: Liam Ardito, Gary Cannon and Mark Smith

#TheList Liam Patrick Ardito, born 28/11/1979, of 4 Westwood Road, Healing, Grimsby DN41 7SA, Gary Lee Cannon, born 12/03/1985, of 2 Davenport Drive, Cleethorpes DN35 9JT, and Mark Wesley Smith, born 05/11/1959, of 16 Broadway, Little Coates, Grimsby DN34 5RN – set dogs on foxes and a badger and watched them being savaged to death

Wildlife criminals from Grimsby/Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire Gary Cannon, Liam Ardito and Mark Smith
L-R Gary Cannon, Liam Ardito, Mark Smith

The odious trio’s sickening activities were uncovered during an early-morning RSPCA raid on Smith’s home in Broadway, as other officers conducted a simultaneous operation in Newbury Avenue, where Ardito was living at the time.

Gary Cannon caught on camera with a brutalised fox
Gary Cannon caught on camera enjoying his sick hobby

Items removed from Smith’s property included an air rifle, a wild bird trap and a terrier-cross dog. Birds of prey, ferrets and dogs were being kept in the back garden of the property which was fitted with seven security cameras.

Gary Cannon and Mark Smith drag a screaming fox from her den before throwing her to a pack of dogs to be savaged to death
Gary Cannon and Mark Smith drag a screaming fox from her den before throwing her to a pack of dogs to be savaged to death

Ardito, Cannon and Smith carried out the sickening attacks – some of which they recorded on video – between April 2010 and August 2012.

Smith had thousands of images of dogs attacking animals on his computer, and memory sticks found in his home.

Twisted Mark Smith with a helpless fox
Twisted Mark Smith with a helpless victim

The men’s lawyer Clive Rees of Clive Rees & Associates admitted there was “no justification” for his client’s actions. He added the best he could say for his clients was they had been winding down their activities, saying they believed it was “getting too hot and too heavy.”

Nigel Burn, prosecuting for the RSPCA, described their behaviour as “intentionally cruel”, telling the court, it amounted to “torture”.

The men's dogs suffered a catalogue of facial injuries
The men’s dogs suffered a catalogue of facial injuries

Liam Ardito admitted the following charges:

  • Causing unnecessary suffering to dog by causing it to fight with another animal
  • Jointly causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog
  • Causing an animal fight between a dog and a fox
  • Jointly with Gary Cannon causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog
  • Causing an animal fight between a dog and a badger
  • Causing unnecessary mental suffering to a fox by caging it
  • Jointly with Gary Cannon causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog
  • Jointly with Gary Cannon causing unnecessary suffering to fox by causing it to be attacked by two dogs
  • Jointly with Mark Smith causing an animal fight between two dogs and another animal
  • Jointly with Mark Smith causing unnecessary suffering to a black and tan terrier by making it fight with another animal
  • Jointly with Mark Smith, taking wild birds, namely sparrowhawks
  • Keeping premises for use in animal fighting

Gary Cannon admitted the following charges:

  • Jointly with Liam Ardito causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog
  • Jointly with Liam Ardito causing an animal fight between a dog and a badger
  • Jointly with Liam Ardito causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by dog
  • Jointly with Liam Ardito causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by two dogs
  • Jointly with Mark Smith causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog

Mark Smith admitted the following charges:

  • Being present at an animal fight between a fox and a dog
  • Aiding and abetting Liam Ardito in causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog
  • Two counts of aiding and abetting Liam Ardito and Gary Cannon in causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog
  • Being present at a fight between a dog and a badger
  • Being found, in Broadway, in possession of a trap for the trapping of wild birds
  • Aiding and abetting Liam Ardito and Gary Cannon in causing unnecessary suffering to two terrier dogs by causing them to fight with a fox
  • Aiding and abetting an unknown person to cause unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog
  • Together with Liam Ardito, at Littlecoates Road, causing an animal fight between two dogs and an unknown animal
  • Together with Gary Cannon, causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog
  • With Liam Ardito, causing unnecessary suffering to a black and tan terrier by causing it to fight with an unknown animal
  • Possessing a wild bird, namely a curlew
  • Possessing a wild bird, namely a rook

Sentencing: four-month custodial sentence for each count to run concurrently. Ardito and Smith were banned from keeping dogs and birds for at least 10 years and Cannon from keeping dogs for at least 10 years (expires March 2023).

North West Hunt Saboteurs

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After Ardito, Cannon and Smith were sentenced, the RSPCA released a series of photographs of men believed to be associates of the trio. It is unknown whether any of them were ever traced or prosecuted.

Unidentified associates of Ardito, Cannon and Smith

Source: North West Hunt Saboteurs Association