Men bragged about attacks on badgers

TWO men caught allowing dogs to attack badgers had filmed previous exploits and bragged in text messages and to police, a court heard yesterday.

Christopher Hindmarsh, Justin Lang

TWO men caught allowing dogs to attack badgers had filmed previous exploits and bragged in text messages and to police, a court heard yesterday.

Christopher Hindmarsh, 28, of Alwinton Square, and Justin Lang, 24, of Norham Road, both Ashington, Northumberland, admitted a series of offences against badgers at Alnwick magistrates court.

The case had been listed for a five-day trial, but the men changed their pleas on offences of damaging a badger sett, obstructing access to a sett and causing a dog to enter one. Hindmarsh admitted a further charge of attempting to kill, injure or take a badger.

The court heard how between November 2006 and July 2007, wildlife crime police officer Andy Swinburne, local residents and Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s badger group were monitoring two setts near Warkworth which had been attacked more than once.

PC Swinburne and a member of the badger group visited the area to carry out a check on the smaller of the two setts at 5pm on July 30, 2007.

When they arrived, they found a four-wheel drive vehicle beside the larger sett. They also heard voices from a wood and the occasional dog bark.

Believing they had interrupted an attack on the larger sett, PC Swinburne called for back-up, but before it could arrive, Hindmarsh and Lang emerged from the wood with four dogs.

Two of the dogs appeared to be injured, and later examination revealed one dog’s jaw injury was an old wound consistent with contact with a badger.

Police later found some entrances to the sett had been blocked and new holes dug to allow terriers inside.

There was also evidence on the defendants’ mobile phones of other offences, including footage of a badger being attacked by a dog. Lang had also sent text messages telling how he had captured and killed the creatures.

Hindmarsh had previously bragged to police officers about his exploits with the animals.

Clive Rees, defending Lang, said he accepted joint responsibility for what happened. He said a dog went underground and that this “occurred while Mr Lang was present and he did nothing to stop it.”

The case was adjourned until November 20 for sentence. Both men were granted unconditional bail.

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