#TheList Nick Holley, born 23/07/1968, of Tramside Farm, Nancekuke, Portreath, near Redruth TR16 5UF – banned from keeping farm animals after sheep were found starved and mutilated at his smallholding
Holley pleaded guilty to the following charges:
• Failing to provide adequate food to his flock of sheep
• Allowing sheep to have access to collapsed fencing and broken machinery that could have injured them
• Mutilating a sheep by docking its tail so short that the tail did not cover its vulva
• Failing to shear or provide shade to sheep in August 2019
• On 10 September 2019 caused unnecessary suffering to a sheep by failing to notice it was trapped or to release it from being trapped
Kevin Hill, prosecuting, told the court that Holley had gone on holiday and left a friend caring for 50 sheep at the smallholding, despite the friend having no previous experience of sheep husbandry.
Many of the sheep were emaciated yet had no supplementary feed, and the sheep had access to scrap and collapsed fencing. On a revisit, council officers found a sheep trapped in a fence; it had been trapped for at least 24 hours and once released was hungry and thirsty.
In January 2020 the sheep were not being fed hay and had strayed onto neighbouring land and roadside verges to forage. Holley had been cautioned for similar offences in 2018.
The magistrates gave credit for the early guilty plea and genuine remorse.
Sentencing: two-year conditional discharge; £5,000 costs. Banned from keeping farm animals for five years.
#TheList serial wildlife persecutor Scott Matthew Cochrane, born 09/11/1989, of 4 Yarrow Close, Poole BH12 4FL – found with dead rabbits, lurcher-type dogs and steel ball bearings
Repeat offender Cochrane was back in court after breaching a five-year criminal behaviour order imposed in September 2015 after a video of him pulling the head off a live wood pigeon was uploaded to Facebook. He admitted being in possession of a wild animal and for hunting a wild mammal with a dog, an offence under Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004.
Cochrane, whose Facebook account is riddled with boasts about his ‘kills’, is now prohibited from entering many rural areas in Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire. The areas include south of the A35 in the Purbeck and Dorchester area, rural northeast Dorset up to the M4 corridor in north Wiltshire and parts of the New Forest in Hampshire.
This will prevent him from using routes such as the A338 from Ringwood into Wiltshire, A354 from Puddletown to Salisbury and A350 from Wimborne to parts of Wiltshire, which all feature in hotspots for such rural crime.
At 11.41pm on Saturday October 5, 2019, officers were called to a rural location in the Blandford area in relation to suspected poaching in fields. They located a van and saw two men – one of whom was the defendant.
There were two lurcher-type dogs with them and they had a high powered lamp. They were also found to be carrying dead rabbits. A search of their vehicle located a catapult and steel ball bearings, as well as further dead rabbits.
The new criminal behaviour order will last for three years.
Cochrane must not:
• Act or incite others to behave in an anti-social manner, that is to say a manner that causes harassment, alarm or distress to any persons.
• Use or incite others to use threatening, intimidating, insulting or abusive words or behaviour in any place to which the public has access.
• Be in possession of a wild animal, wild bird or part of a wild animal or bird living or dead.
• Be in possession of a catapult or shot, such as ball bearings, or to be in a vehicle with a catapult or such shot in a place to which the public have access or private land as a trespasser.
• Allow a dog under his control off a lead, except on private land with the land owners written permission.
• Be in a vehicle with a dog traditionally used for the purpose of hare and deer coursing, such as a Lurcher, Greyhound, Saluki, or a cross breed of these varieties unless travelling to an emergency vets appointment.
• Own dogs traditionally used for the purposes of hare and deer coursing such as Lurchers, Greyhounds, Saluki or a cross breed of these varieties.
Police Constable Claire Dinsdale, Rural Crime Co-ordinator for Dorset Police, said: “Coursing with dogs and poaching is a national priority for both rural and wildlife crime and there are many repeat victims across the UK.
“This issue is not about ‘one for the pot’ but part of a network of persistent criminals who will threaten and intimidate our rural communities if challenged and cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to crops, gates and other property.
“They train their dogs on rabbits, hares and even on deer, with no regard for the welfare of wildlife or their dogs and they are willing to travel vast distances into other counties.
“Dorset Police is part of the national strategy between 22 police forces, Operation Galileo, where civil and criminal powers will be used to prevent such offending by hare coursers and protect vulnerable victims.
“I hope this sends a clear message that coursing and other such crimes are not tolerated and we will take robust action against anyone suspected of such an offence.
“This now varied order is a first of its kind for rural crime, in that it bans the defendant from large areas of rural land across three counties and it restricts his ownership of certain dog breeds and cross breeds.”
Sentencing: eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months. Victim surcharge of £122 and £85 costs. The other man was given a caution. Three-year criminal behaviour order.
Update 13/03/20: Dorset Police announced on their Facebook page that Cochrane has been jailed after breaching a criminal behaviour order that banned him from being in possession of a catapult.
He was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison on Friday 6 March 2020 after admitting breaching a criminal behaviour order and a suspended sentence order.
On Wednesday 25 December 2019 Dorset Police was made aware of a live stream video that had been uploaded to social media that showed Cochrane sat in the passenger seat of a 4×4 vehicle in a rural location.
The video showed Cochrane pull out a catapult and pretend to fire it at the person who was filming. The occupants then stop the vehicle when they notice something in a field and the video stops moments later.
Cochrane was arrested on Friday 3 January 2020 and admitted that the video had been filmed on Christmas Day 2019 and confirmed it was him in the video. He did not disclose who else was in the video.
When he was sentenced on Friday 6 March 2020 the eight-week suspended term was activated and Cochrane was also sentenced to a further four weeks in prison for breaching the criminal behaviour order, resulting in a total sentence of 12 weeks in prison.
Police Constable Claire Dinsdale, Rural Crime Co-ordinator for Dorset Police, said: “Scott Cochrane showed a blatant disregard for court orders that were in place to protect wild animals as he had previously been sentenced for coursing offences.
“Coursing with dogs and poaching is a national priority for both rural and wildlife crime and there are many repeat victims across the UK.
#TheList badger baiters Christian Adam Latcham, born 02/09/87, of Cymmer Road, Porth CF39 9BE, Jamie Richard Rush, born 13/03/92 of Church View, Talgarth, Brecon LD3 0DG, Cyle Griffith Jones, born 09/11/87, of Cwrt Tarrell, Newgate Street, Brecon, Powys LD3 8ED, and Thomas Lawrence Young, born 16/12/92, of no fixed abode but with links to Portskewett in Caldicot and Blaina, Abertillery
Latcham, Jones, Rush and Young were caught badger baiting by an undercover journalist working for BBC Wales. All four denied the charges against them, but were found guilty following a trial.
The four men loaded a pick-up van with shovels and dogs to go to a “pre-arranged” location to dig for badgers in the countryside.
Prosecutor Jon Tarrant said: “They were attempting to take a badger.”
The group did not know they had been joined by the undercover investigator – known as John.
Giving evidence, a BBC researcher said Young introduced him to three other men before they set off on the hunt on March 24, 2018.
He said: “The discussions were that Thomas, Christian and two other individuals were going to West Wales to a pre-designated location and that they were going to be digging for badgers.”
He added that the men met at Latcham’s house where he had a garage transformed into “kennels” – with cages and dogs.
They then set off from the Rhondda Valleys, South Wales, to Llanddewi Velfrey in Pembrokeshire.
The undercover investigator said the men discussed that they would “dig for billies/badgers” on the journey.
He said when the men arrived at a field they donned “wellies and country wear” and put collars on the dogs to track their whereabouts.
He said: “They explained to me what would happen when they put the dogs down into the tubes, as they called it. Into the set.
“They explained about monitoring the dog in the ground.”
The court heard that when the dog stopped underground the men began to dig.
He added: “When it stopped I was told that was when we would dig down.
“When we dug down there wasn’t anything with that dog.
“We repeated this cycle for a number of hours.”
The court heard that larger dogs were brought to the holes “in readiness” to attack the badgers.
One hole was so deep that Latcham’s head could not be seen above the ground as he stood in it.
Christian Latcham has 12 previous convictions for 24 offences, including for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
Cyle Jones has 13 previous convictions for 18 offences, including animal cruelty.
Rush has eight previous convictions for nine offences and has previously been sentenced to two years in prison.
Of the four defendents only Rush gave evidence during the four day trial in front of District Judge Neil Thomas.
Judge Thomas said: “I have no difficulty coming to the unreserved conclusion, that he was not telling the truth.”
When Cyle Jones was taken away, someone in the public gallery shouted “keep your head up love”, he was previously jailed in June 2019 for 18 weeks after admitting unnecessary cruelty to animals, relating to two dogs who were injured.
Sentencing: Latcham was jailed for 26 weeks, Jones and Rush for 22 weeks. Thomas Young was sentenced to 20 weeks in custody, suspended for 12 months and will be subject to a curfew. Young and Jones are already banned from keeping dogs for life and Latcham has an indefinite ban following a 2011 cruelty conviction.
#TheList Stacy Humphrys (aka Boogile Lee), born c. 1987, of West Meadows Travellers Site, Ipswich IP1 5NU – kept 17 dogs, 23 poultry and a young pony in terrible conditions
Humphrys admitted seven offences under the Animal Welfare Act. These included four counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a filly and seven dogs, and three of failing to meet the welfare needs of 17 dogs, 23 poultry and the filly pony.
The RSPCA were called to Humphrys’ home at the West Meadows travellers encampment in April 2019, following reports of an underweight whippet.
When Inspector Jason Finch arrived he discovered another dog with fur loss and two dogs in a room covered in old and fresh faeces.
After being shown around the rest of the location, Inspector Finch was concerned and alarmed for a number of animals he saw. He then contacted police, a vet and other RSPCA offers for assistance.
Speaking after the case, Inspector Finch said: “It was extremely disturbing to see so many animals living in such terrible conditions.
“As we proceeded round the property more and more dogs were found in runs that were too small. All were filthy with faeces, and had little or no water.
“Some of the dogs, particularly those with long coats, were also filthy with faeces, some dogs had fur loss, and live fleas could be seen on many of the dogs. Two dogs which were extremely thin, nervous and covered in faeces frantically drank a bowl dry when they were given fresh water at the vets.
“We and other organisations have tried to work with this defendant in the past in a bid to help him improve the welfare of all his animals.
“But despite the help and advice he has been given in the past, he failed to do what was right for these animals which led them to suffer.”
All the animals taken from the property were signed over by the defendant and have made a good recovery with many already in loving new homes.
Julie Harding, senior field officer of horse sanctuary Redwings, said: “We were hugely shocked and appalled to discover the unnecessary suffering of the little black filly, as we have previously worked with the owner in a bid to help him improve the welfare of his horses.
“When the young filly arrived at the sanctuary she was so weak and underweight that she couldn’t stand up without our help. Luckily, thanks to the dedication of our vets and care team, she has gone on to make a full recovery and she is guaranteed a safe home in Redwings’ care for the rest of her life.”
Sentencing: 16 weeks in prison. Total costs and charges of £989. Banned for an indefinite period from keeping all animals – with a right to appeal after five years. In November 2019 the indefinite banning order was reduced to five years with the right of appeal after one year.
#TheList puppy farmer Frank James, born 05/04/1967, of 105 Coronation Way, Montrose, Angus DD10 9DW, and accomplice Michelle Wood, born c. 1989, of Berrymuir Road, Macduff AB44
Frank James and Michelle Wood caused dogs, ferrets and rabbits suffering at East Mains of Ardlogie Farm near Fyvie, Aberdeenshire AB53 8PH.
The Scottish SPCA and police raided the farm in November 2017, removing 105 animals including 87 dogs, the youngest being a few days old.
The animals were taken to Scottish SPCA animal rescue and rehoming centres for treatment and rehabilitation.
An undercover investigator for the Scottish SPCA described the conditions as “absolutely disgraceful”.
The investigator said: “We believe this was the largest scale puppy farming operation in Scotland.
“The conditions these dogs were being kept in were absolutely disgraceful. It fell far below the minimum standard in terms of animal welfare and, given the environment and sheer volume of puppies, it was immediately evident these were not being kept as pets and the premises was effectively a battery farm for pups.
“Our investigation revealed dogs on site were being intensively bred with little to no regard for their welfare.
“On site, we found a burnt out van which had dog carcasses within, suggesting this was a means of disposing dead pups.”
Frank James and his brother were banned from keeping more than two dogs for three years.
Sean James, who was 18 at the time, was ordered to carry out 50 hours of community service and banned from keeping more than two dogs for three years
In September 2016 a planning application in the name of Frank James’ daughter Elizabeth James (now Elizabeth Sutherland of Hillhead Caravan Park, Kintore, Inverurie AB51 0YX) with Sean James as the named agent was submitted to Aberdeen Council for the East Mains of Ardlogie farm to be used as breeding kennels. Following a huge wave of public objections the application was rejected at the eleventh hour.
Undeterred, the James family continued to operate their puppy farm illegally and Frank James flouted his ban on selling puppies.
Sentencing: James was jailed for nine months and banned from owning animals for life. Wood was given 300 hours of unpaid work and placed under supervision for two years. She was banned from keeping animals for ten years.
#TheList Ryan William Harrison, born 08/07/1994, of Green Lane, Caldicot, Monmouthshire NP26 4HH, Tomas Young, born c. 1993, of East Pentwyn, Blaina, Abertillery, Monmouthshire NP13, and Cyle Jones, born 09/11/1987, of Cwrt Tarrell, Newgate Street, Brecon, Powys LD3 8ED – for the barbaric persecution of wildlife, which included skinning alive a baby badger, and cruelty including violence to dogs
Ryan Harrison, Cyle Jones and Tomas Young were jailed for badger baiting and animal cruelty following a probe by a BBC Wales TV programme.
The court was told that an RSPCA inquiry was launched following an undercover investigation by BBC Wales Investigates. The programme entitled The Secret World of Badger Baiters was shown in May 2018 and is currently available to watch on YouTube.
Following the programme’s broadcast warrants were executed at the addresses of the three individuals identified, being Young, Harrison and Jones
A phone seized from Harrison contained numerous videos, text messages and images depicting hunting and animal cruelty offences. Video clips alone amounted to 447 with the majority of the material extreme in its nature.
The animal cruelty footage showed wildlife being killed and dogs with extensive injuries from being used to hunt animals. The voice of Harrison was heard and there were videos and pictures showing Young.
The RSPCA special operations unit also were able to view footage obtained by the BBC.
One particular horrific incident involved a baby badger which had been skinned alive by dogs.
The badger’s skin was split down the middle and pulled back from the body.
Shortly after the baby badger is seen to be still alive and is killed by Young hitting it with a shovel.
District Judge Neil Thomas described the trio’s offences as “medieval barbarity”.
Harrison and Young pleaded guilty to six joint offences in that they did wilfully kill, injure or take a badger on four different occasions.
They also admitted attempting to take or kill a deer in the Forest of Dean, and causing unnecessary suffering to a boar by letting it be attacked by dogs and by stabbing the animal with a knife.
Harrison also pleaded guilty to another nine offences.These were:
Attempting to take or kill a deer
Attempting to wilfully kill, injure or take a badger on two occasions
Causing unnecessary suffering to a terrier dog called Ted by failing to obtain professional veterinary care for injuries to the dog’s lip and chin
Causing unnecessary suffering to a terrier by failing to obtain professional veterinary care for injuries to the dog’s chin area
Causing unnecessary suffering to a boar by causing the said animal to be attacked by dogs and by stabbing the said animal with a knife
Causing unnecessary suffering to terrier called Brock by failing to obtain professional veterinary care for injuries to the dog’s neck area
Two other charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a boar, by causing the animal to be attacked by dogs
Jones admitted two charges of unnecessary cruelty to animals, relating to two dogs that were injured.
He was given a custodial sentence because he was not allowed to keep dogs, having been previously convicted of having a dog dangerously out of control.
In their defence, the men said they had grown up with countryside pursuits.
There was no mitigation, said the judge, as far as he could see.
“The absence of remorse was obvious,” he said.
Chief inspector Ian Briggs, from the RSPCA’s special operations unit, said: “The RSPCA’s special operations unit has to investigate some truly gruesome acts on animals. But the prolific nature of these horrific crimes are some of the worst I – and my inspectors – have ever had the displeasure of witnessing.
“This barbaric, deliberate and calculated torture has caused wildlife and dogs to suffer immeasurably, solely for the sadistic pleasure of a handful of depraved individuals.
“BBC Wales’ initial work on this case was very important, and firmly in the public interest – paving the way for the RSPCA to undertake this investigation and bring these perpetrators to justice.
“Sadly, people who enjoy inflicting such pain and suffering on wildlife continue to offend in Wales. The RSPCA will not rest in bringing people like these to justice.
“As well as BBC Wales, we’d also like to thank the police forces who assisted us on this case – Gwent Police, South Wales Police, Dyfed Powys and Gloucestershire Police.”
Sentencing: Ryan Harrison was jailed for 22 weeks, Thomas Young got 20 weeks and Cyle Jones was given 18 weeks. All three defendants were banned from keeping dogs for life.
#TheList serial animal abuser Keeley M Boswell, born 18/09/1986, and partner Paul M Flemming, born c. 1991, both of Gerald Avenue, Chatham ME4 5TF – banned from keeping animals for 10 years after their dog’s broken leg had to be amputated
Keeley Boswell was already disqualified from keeping animals alongside previous partner James ‘Jimmy’ Moore for the severe neglect of an emaciated and flea-riddled Rottweiler named Bella and a Staffy, Rizla, with the latter having to be put to sleep.
In June 2018 RSPCA inspectors visited the home Boswell shares with latest partner Paul Flemming and discovered two flea-infested pets: 10-month-old Chihuahua Sandie and a cat called Princess Sandie also showed signs of a deformed forelimb.
Both animals were taken to a veterinary surgery, where Sandie was found to have suffered a painful leg fracture, which would have occurred at least three weeks earlier and been caused by “great force”.
The couple’s solicitor told the court that Boswell was aware she had been banned from keeping animals but she wasn’t sure if the ban was still in force.
She also admitted when asked by inspectors that Sandie’s leg did not look straight.
Flemming said he hadn’t noticed any issue with the dog’s leg but admitted that he ought to have taken her to the vets.
Their solicitor asked magistrates to give the couple community orders rather than a custodial sentence, as they had multiple children in their care and Flemming was named as the household’s only breadwinner.
In addition to the animal cruelty charges, Boswell was convicted of breaching a disqualification order, whilst Flemming was convicted of aiding and abetting this.
Sentencing: 18-week suspended sentence; ordered to take part in a total of 400 hours of unpaid work and supplementary rehabilitation sessions; £450 in costs. Banned from keeping animals for ten years.
#TheList horse trader and kitten breeder Andrew David Colbert Hinde, born 07/01/1965, of Becca Farm, Aberford, Leeds LS25 3AH – flouted a ban and continued to abuse animals in his care
Former international horse show judge Hinde, who bred Dartmoor ponies at Pumphill Stud, immediately ignored a 12-year ban on keeping animals imposed in March 2015 and went on to neglect 50 horses and two foals.
The 2015 conviction related to cruelty to horses and also cats after dozens of pedigree British short-haired cats being bred for sale were found at the property Hinde shared with parents Raymond and Cynthia. They were also convicted of animal cruelty at that time.
Now the serial animal abuser has finally been sent to jail and banned from keeping animals indefinitely with the crown court recorder Gavin Doig telling him it was “time to pay the price for your behaviour”.
The court heard heard Hinde kept 20 horses at his own farm with more than 50 other ponies kept in fields he rented at Westfield Farm at Kirk Smeaton near Pontefract.
The court heard in February 2017 RSPCA inspectors went to Westfield Farm and found some of the ponies were in poor condition with their her ribs, hips and spines. showing.
One of the ponies was emaciated and was suffering from hunger, was infected with lice and had overgrown feet.
Another pony, which was exhausted and suffering from hypothermia, was put to sleep.
The court heard that the pony was infested with worms and was infected with salmonella.
In July 2017 RSPCA inspectors went to Becca Farm at Aberford and seized 20 horses after finding that some were being kept in conditions that didn’t meet their needs.
Many of the animals had been left to fend for themselves with one suffering hypothermia
The horses and ponies were left without adequate food or shelter and were “skin and bone” with one so badly emaciated and infected with disease he had to be put down.
The judge told Hinde he had a “cavalier attitude towards the animals, a cavalier attitude to orders of the court; you showed complete disrespect”.
“Now you must face those consequences,” he added.
Shila Whitehead, defending, said Hinde had “issues on wanting to have animals”.
Sentencing: jailed for 11 months and banned from keeping animals indefinitely.
RSPCA Cymru had long been monitoring the welfare of a number of horses, located at fields off Tan-y-Fron Road in Abergele.
Despite repeated warnings and the provision of advice – the welfare of a number of the animals started to decline sharply over the autumn of 2018.
In October 2018 officers removed three mares and a filly from the site, all of whom were very underweight and had severe diarrhoea. Three foals belonging to the mares were also removed, because they were too young to come away from their mothers.
A further three mares, a filly and a stallion were removed in December 2018, many appearing thin, and living in muddy conditions. One was found to be suffering, while the remainder were not having their needs sufficiently met.
Two horses had to be euthanised after becoming seriously unwell. A post-mortem examination of them showed they had serious liver damage thought to be caused from ragwort as well as internal damage caused by parasites.
RSPCA inspector Jenny Anderton said: “This was a really difficult case to work on, given the repeated attempts and efforts we made to support this individual with caring for the horses.
“We worked closely with World Horse Welfare to help these horses, and we’re very grateful, as always, for their support, assistance and expertise.
“Sadly, the man’s failure to provide proper care was long-running, and some of the treatment these horses endured was appalling.
“Many were very thin, and living in wholly inappropriate muddy conditions. Others were struggling with severe diarrhoea and urgently needed help.
“Owning equines should be a privilege – but despite repeated warnings and attempts of help, this individual repeatedly failed to give the equines the care they so desperately needed.
“I hope this incident highlights to people how important it is to give equines appropriate treatment for parasites, be vigilant against the toxic plant ragwort as well as consulting your vet at the first sign of any illness.
“Horses have complex needs, are expensive to keep properly and time-consuming to look after.
“I would urge anyone considering taking on a horse to ensure they have the necessary financial means and specialist knowledge before they do so.”
Sentencing: curfew; ordered to pay £250 towards costs. Ten-year ban on keeping animals.