Southampton: Scott Bicknell and George Cole

#TheList Scott Maurice Bicknell, born 05/09/1976 of 13 Kiln Lane, Old Alresford, Alresford SO24, and gypsy traveller George Cole, born  03/07/1946 of Newdeeps Farm, Winchester Road, Upham, Southampton SO32 – for horrific separate acts of animal cruelty involving a rabbit and dog

Stills from video footage used in the RSPCA's prosecution against Scott Bicknell and George Cole
Stills from video footage used in the RSPCA’s prosecution against Scott Bicknell and George Cole

Bicknell and Cole pleaded guilty to one animal welfare offence each of causing unnecessary suffering in relation to two separate incidents.

RSPCA Chief Inspector (CI) Will Mitchell from the Special Operations Unit said: “A mobile phone was seized as part of separate police operation which led to evidence of animal welfare concerns being uncovered and prompted warrants at two addresses in Hampshire.

“On the phone – which belonged to another man who isn’t part of our investigations – we found videos and Whatsapp messages.

“One of these videos showed Mr Bicknell in his garden setting his dogs on a wild rabbit and encouraging them to kill it. It’s really horrific footage to watch.”

The RSPCA joined Hampshire Police Countrywatch Team to execute warrants at two addresses in April.

At the Upham property, officers found a female lurcher collapsed in a pile of hay in a barn.

CI Mitchell added: “The vet checked her immediately and she cried out in pain when he touched her.

“Her breathing was laboured and she was shaking. She was emaciated and weak.

“When officers helped her onto her feet they made a shocking discovery – a huge, ulcerated tumour under her abdomen.

“The vet said it had been there for months, possibly years.”

The dog was sadly put to sleep to end her suffering.

Sentencing:
Bicknell – 12-week prison term, suspended for two years; ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work’ total of £415 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping all animals for just two years (expires August 2020).

Cole – 12-week prison term, suspended for two years; total of £440 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping all animals for five years (expires August 2023).

Source: RSPCA press release 08/08/2018