#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.
It was reported that Jamie Rush had successfully appealed against his conviction.
The RSPCA said it opposed the appeal, but said it was unable to continue due to issues related to the anonymity of a key witness.