Category Archives: hedgehogs

Longformacus, Duns, Scottish Borders: Alan Wilson

#TheList gamekeeper Alan P Wilson, born c. 1958, of Henlaw Cottage, Longformacus, Duns TD11 3NT – killing dozens of wildlife on Longformacus Estate

Gamekeeper Alan Wilson from Duns in the Scottish Borders killed dozens of wildlife including protected species
Gamekeeper Alan Wilson from Duns in the Scottish Borders kept a kill list and dumped 1000 animals into a stink pit designed to attract birds of prey and other animals, which Wilson is suspected of shooting.

Wilson admitted nine charges including killing goshawks, buzzards, badgers and an otter.

The offences were committed on the Longformacus Estate in the Borders between March 2016 and June 2017.

Gamekeeper Alan Wilson from Duns in the Scottish Borders killed dozens of wildlife including protected species
One source said that Alan Wilson was hellbent on killing anything that moved

The court ruled Wilson was responsible for the deaths of numerous wildlife, including protected species. Investigators found animal corpses including otters, badgers, foxes, birds of prey and more when they searched Henlaw Wood in 2017.

A captive eagle owl which the Scottish SPCA suspects was being used as a live lure on birds of prey who were subsequently shot and killed was also discovered at Wilson’s residence. In 2018, Wilson was fined £400 and banned from keeping birds of prey for ten years for failing to ensure the welfare of the eagle owl.

After an investigation which involved experts from the Scottish SPCA’s special investigation unit (SIU), RSPB and Police Scotland, Wilson was found to have used techniques including illegally set snares and unlawful items such as banned pesticides and gin traps to trap and kill wildlife.

A land inspection also found ‘stink pits’, where dead animal carcasses are left to attract other wildlife. These ‘stink pits’ were surrounded by illegally set snares. Animal remains, including mammal skulls, were recovered.

investigators believe Wilson slaughtered thousands more animals.

One source claimed he was hell-bent on killing “everything that moved” except game birds on the estate that were being bred to be shot by wealthy clients.

One kill list found in Wilson’s home catalogued 1,071 dead animals – including cats, foxes, hedgehogs and stoats.

Gamekeeper Alan Wilson from Duns in the Scottish Borders killed dozens of wildlife including protected species

Sheriff Peter Paterson said the offences merited a jail term but he felt he was unable to impose one due to guidelines against short-term sentences.

“The sentencing options open to me at the moment do not reflect society’s views,” he added.

The court was told Wilson had pledged to no longer work as a gamekeeper and was now employed cutting trees.

Police welcomed the sentencing at Jedburgh Sheriff Court at the end of what they called a “complex inquiry” which had been a “large-scale” investigation.

“The illegal killing of birds of prey and protected species cannot, and will not, be tolerated, nor will the inhumane use of illegal traps and pesticides,” said Det Con Andy Loughlin.

An undercover Scottish SPCA investigator described it as a “despicable case of serious and systematic crimes to indiscriminately remove wildlife from an estate”.

“The sheer volume of dead wildlife discovered is truly shocking,” the investigator added.

“We will never know the total number of animals which perished due to Mr Wilson, though had it not been for the robust intervention of Police Scotland, the Scottish SPCA and our other partner agencies, many more would have suffered and perished.”

Sara Shaw, head of the Crown Office’s wildlife and environmental crime unit, said Wilson’s actions amounted to a “campaign of deliberate criminality”.

Duncan Orr-Ewing of RSPB Scotland called it an “absolutely appalling incident involving the illegal killing of a range of protected wildlife.”

Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture wildlife forensic scientist Dr Lucy Webster said the investigation had been an “excellent example” of partnership working to “bring a prolific wildlife criminal to justice”.

Robbie Marsland, director of the League Against Cruel Sports, described it as “one of the worst wildlife crime incidents in recent years”.

A spokesman for the Scottish Gamekeepers Association said Wilson’s actions were “unacceptable” and “entirely out of step” with conduct it expected from its members.

He said Wilson’s SGA membership would be terminated immediately.

Sentencing: ordered to carry out 225 hours of unpaid work and given a restriction of liberty order.

Scottish SPCA
BBC News
Daily Record

Skelmersdale, West Lancashire: Liam Aitken

#TheList Liam Aitken, born 06/05/1993, of Rose Crescent, Skelmersdale WN8 8DW – battered a hedgehog to death with a brick

Liam Aitken of Skelmersdale, Lancashire, UK, battered a hedgehog to death.

Father-of-one Aitken, then living in Wallasey, Merseyside, was spotted battering the defenceless creature by a horrified neighbour as he returned home from a late dog walk.

The outraged resident placed the dead animal in a plastic bag and wrote a note to Aitken, leaving both on his car.

Another neighbour reported dad-of-one Aitken to the RSPCA.

Aitken admitted one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a hedgehog by crushing the animal to death, and was unable to explain his actions when quizzed by investigators.

Chris Murphy, prosecuting for the RSPCA, told the court: “The witness was in bed and woke up to the sound of thuds.

“She saw a male dressed in black. She noticed he was using a mobile phone as a flashlight to look at a mass on the ground.

“She observed the male pick up a brick and throw it on to the mass five or six times then walk towards the bins. He walked off to his house via the back gate.”

When the beaten hedgehog was found, it was still warm, but not moving.

A post mortem found the hedgehog died from blunt force trauma and had injuries including a fractured pelvis and broken legs.

When interviewed, Aitken said he thought he had thrown the brick three or four times and accepted he had caused serious injuries to the hedgehog.

Mr Murphy said: “He said he was truly sorry for his actions and had no idea why he had done it.”

Aitken wept as his lawyer told the court he had never previously harmed an animal and was remorseful.

“At the time he wasn’t in a very good place and was drinking a lot. He was extremely depressed at the time and the week before had taken an overdose. He had been arguing with his partner.

“He said he was distraught. Had he walked a different way the hedgehog would still be alive today.”

Sentencing: 12-month prison term, suspended for a year; 200 hours of unpaid work. Ordered to pay £835 in costs and attend a six-month alcohol treatment programme.

Liverpool Echo

Dunfermline, Fife: Noel Taylor

#TheList Noel Taylor, born c. 1997, of Old Kirk Road, Dunfermline KY12 7SQ – kicked a hedgehog to death

Hedgehog killer Noel Taylor from Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
Unfortunately, twisted Noel Taylor was not banned from keeping animals

Noel Taylor inflicted so much injury on the hedgehog that when police found it, its internal organs were outside its body.

Taylor admitted that on August 28, 2016, at St Margaret Street, Dumfermline, he, whilst acting with others, repeatedly kicked the wild mammal with intent to inflict unnecessary suffering contrary to the Mammals (Protection) Act 1996.

Depute Fiscal Azrah Yousaf said police were alerted at around 4am by CCTV operators who had spotted three males kicking a hedgehog down the street.

The men, including Taylor, denied the actions and the CCTV operators directed the police officers to where they believed the hedgehog was lying.

“On examination, it was clear it had suffered severe injuries and its internal organs were outside the body,” she told the court.

“CCTV clearly showed that following kicking the hedgehog off the street, all of them clear the remnants of the animal off their shoes.”

Taylor’s solicitor, Jonathan Matheson-Dear, said his client was intoxicated but this did not excuse his behaviour.

“He was out with friends and had been to a nightclub. He was very drunk and clearly it was an action of stupidity and bravado,” he said.

“On the way home, in high spirits, he decided to harm this animal. I don’t know if his kick was the one that killed it but he is responsible and is accepting full responsibility.

“He should not have behaved in the way he did and he is not seeking to minimise the seriousness of his conduct.

“It is unfortunate the others haven’t been brought to justice for this but it in no way minimises his responsibility. He now recognises that hedgehogs are an endangered species.”

Since the incident, Mr Mathieson-Dear said, Taylor had reduced his alcohol intake.

“He now seldom goes out drinking,” he added. “Alcohol is not something that mixes well with him.

“Hopefully, this is a one-off aberration on his part and he recognises he should not behave in this way in the future.”

Sheriff Richard McFarlane described Taylor’s conduct as “abhorrent” and said the explanation that alcohol was a “fuelling factor” was not an excuse.

“There are real concerns for the species of hedgehogs and indeed they are becoming endangered,” he told Taylor.

“The maximum penalty for a charge of this nature is a significant fine or six months’ imprisonment.

“The fact is this is your first, and I hope your last offence, and you are taking steps to address your alcohol intake. You have also kept yourself out of further trouble and you continue to hold down two jobs and you were not alone in this dreadful acts so I will deal with this by way of a fine.”

Sentencing: £300 fine.

Dunfermline Press

Kingston Upon Hull: Suzanna Falconer and Raymond Spires

#TheList Suzanna Falconer, born 1973, and Raymond Spires, born c. 1990, of Albert Avenue, West Hull HU3, for neglecting banned breed dog; dog put to sleep on BSL grounds; Falconer in breach of animal ban for starving 13 pet rats to death.

Photo shows Suzanna Falconer, Raymond Spires and their neglected pitbull Tia, who was put to sleep after being found to be a banned breed.
Suzanna Falconer, Raymond Spires and their neglected pitbull Tia, who was put to sleep after being found to be a banned breed.

Tia had to be put to sleep after RSPCA inspectors found her at the home where Suzanna Falconer lived with her partner Raymond Spires.

The dog was suffering from a skin condition and was later found to be a pit bull, a breed banned in the UK.

Falconer, who was banned from keeping animals for five years in 2012 after starving 13 rats to death, pleaded guilty to breaching her disqualification order and failing to meet Tia’s needs.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “The RSPCA takes breaches of disqualification orders very seriously.

“Unfortunately, in this case, it is clear that no lessons had been learnt by Falconer, despite a disqualification from keeping animals.

“She not only breached the terms of the court order but sadly went on to fail to give Tia the care she needed.”

Spires also pleaded guilty to failing to meet the needs of Tia and aiding and abetting the breach of Falconer’s disqualification order.

Falconer was originally banned from keeping animals for five years after neglecting a rabbit called Bugsy, three ferrets and 13 rats and for causing unnecessary suffering to a hedgehog at her previous home in Downing Grove, east Hull.

The rats were found dead in cages in the shed having been starved to death.

The hedgehog had been kept in captivity and was emaciated.

Falconer had not fed the ferrets properly or protected them from pain, injury, disease and suffering.

Her partner at the time Andrew Gill, was also convicted of the same offences and went on to be banned for a further 20 years after he left his four dogs without food and water or bedding.

RSPCA inspectors and police raided Gill’s house again in September 2013 where they found 20 fish, a corn snake, two Staffordshire bull terriers called Zane and Patch, two terriers called Dufus and Meg, two cats and six kittens.

Dufus and Meg were confined to the kitchen and had been eating out of the bin.

Zane and Patch were found in the rubbish-strewn garden, where there was broken glass jars, rusty metal tins and exposed metal chair springs.

Sentencing:
Falconer – eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, £350 costs, £80 victim surcharge.
Spires – 80 hours of unpaid work, £350 costs and £60 victim surcharge.
Both were banned from keeping animals for seven years (expires November 2021) .

Source article removed.

Kingston upon Hull: Andrew Gill

#TheList repeat offender Andrew Gill, born c. 1964, of 34 Downing Grove, Hull HU9 3SY –  left his four dogs without access to food, water or bedding; breached disqualification order.

Photo of serial animal abuser Andrew Gill from Hull
Andrew Gill celebrates winning The World’s Biggest Knob competition.

Gill was banned, alongside former partner Suzanna Falconer, from keeping animals in 2012 for causing unnecessary suffering to 13 rats, which died of starvation, failing to meet the welfare needs of three ferrets and a rabbit and causing unnecessary suffering to a hedgehog.

RSPCA inspector Hannah Bryer said: “Throughout the duration of the previous proceedings, Mr Gill was given advice, assistance and warning notices to improve the welfare of his remaining animals.

“After he was banned, he failed to follow the court order and continued keeping animals.

“Mr Gill has proved he is unable to care for animals properly, even when given extensive guidance.

“He has shown a complete disregard for the court order and to the wellbeing of his pets.”

Andy Gill photo

RSPCA inspectors and police raided Gill’s home in September 2012. When they entered the property, he said: “You’re not taking my pets, you are not touching the snake or the fish, no way.”

Inside, they found 20 fish, a corn snake, two Staffordshire bull terriers called Zane and Patch, two terriers called Dufus and Meg, two cats and six kittens.

Miss Bryer said Dufus and Meg were confined to the kitchen and had been eating out of the bin. Zane and Patch were in the garden, which was littered with rubbish including broken glass jars, rusty metal tins and exposed metal chair springs.

Gill admitted breaching his disqualification order and failing to meet the welfare needs of the dogs.

In 2007, Gill spoke of of his devastation after an arson attack on his shed killed his 300 rats, two rabbits, two hamsters, two guinea pigs and three hedgehogs.

Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence, suspended for a year, 200 hours of unpaid work, £250 costs.  Banned from keeping animals for 20 years (expires April 2033).

Source article (Hull Daily Mail) removed.

Greenock/Skelmorlie: Gordon Devenish and John Cathcart

#TheList Gordon Devenish, born c. 1966, of 48 West Blackhall Street, Greenock PA15 1UY (confirmed 2019) and John ‘Johnny’ Cathcart, born c. 1969, of Golf Course Road, Skelmorlie PA17 5BH – kicked a hedgehog to death

Johnny Cathcart (left) of Skelmorlie and Gordon Devenish of Greenock used a defenceless hedgehog as a football
Johnny Cathcart (left) and Gordon Devenish used a defenceless hedgehog as a football

Self-employed joiner John Cathcart and his colleague Gordon Devenish kicked a hedgehog to death by using it as a football during a stag weekend. The pair admitted kicking the animal back and forth until it died as a result of its injuries.

Sheriff Robert McCreadie described it as an offensive act of wanton cruelty committed by two grown men.

“You should both be ashamed of yourselves. You are being publicly shamed in the dock today,” he said.

Sheriff McCreadie added: “I have noted that you have paid a sum of money to the SSPCA, possibly in an attempt to salve your conscience.”

Fiscal depute Stuart Richardson told the court that a number of police officers were in the area when they saw Devenish kicking the hedgehog across the road and Cathcart kicking it after him.

“Police then approached both to find out what they were doing,” Mr Richardson said. “The hedgehog was killed.”

Devenish claimed he saw an object lying in the street and decided to use it as a football.

He realised it was a hedgehog but decided to boot it several feet in the air anyway.

Solicitor Mark Alder, defending, said: “Both parties were drinking a large amount of alcohol on the day in question.

“They were out at a friend’s stag party.

“Both now accept responsibility for their actions.”

In his letter pleading guilty to the court, Cathcart said: “I deeply regret what I have done. As an animal lover I feel great remorse.

“I was intoxicated at the time of this offence, although I know this is no excuse for such a stupid and barbaric act.”

Sentencing: Devenish was fined £400 and Cathcart £360.

BBC News