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Badger baiting in Pembrokeshire exposed

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A BBC WALES investigation exposing badger baiting in Pembrokeshire is set to air tonight (May 22).

As part of a six-month investigation, BBC Wales infiltrated two gangs, uncovering a network across south Wales.

This is the first time in over 30 years that a group of badger baiters have been infiltrated in this manner, revealing the reality of the brutal blood sport. Secret recordings show two men pull a badger cub from the ground, setting dogs on it then killing it with a spade.

Others were filmed illegally digging a sett in Pembrokeshire, including a convicted badger baiter who is banned from keeping dogs.

The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 bans people from injuring, killing or taking the animal or disturbing their setts, yet hotspots of activity were found in Wales and the English borders. The cruel treatment of the dogs were also revealed, with one member of the group claiming to have shot dogs that failed to act as he wanted.


Veterinary physician Mike Jessop, an expert witness for dozens of animal welfare prosecutions, said: “The dog is just another working tool. They’re just thrown down holes, they’ve got to do their job. If they’re not doing their job they become a useless commodity.

“This is the classic blood sport activity that we all thought had been brought under some sort of control – this is showing clearly it hasn’t.”

RSPCA special operations unit head Ian Briggs described how there was ‘a particular problem’ with badger baiting in Wales, saying that this was due to the ‘remoteness and the ease of which they [badger baiters] can carry out their activities’.

The Ministry of Justice reported that 13 people across England and Wales were convicted in 2016, with four of those in Wales. Yet police forces are not required to reveal badger baiting investigations or outcomes to the Home Office, resulting in the scale of badger baiting being unknown.

Despite this, information collated by charities suggested there were 18 reports of badger baiting in Wales over the 17 months ending in 2017 with four reports of dug badger setts.

Sue Hayman, Labour’s shadow environment secretary, said: “If we’re going to genuinely tackle something we need to know the extent of the problem and the only way we’re going to properly know the extent of the problem is to record it effectively.”

Mr Briggs went on to say that prosecutions were reliant on the RSPCA getting ‘information from friends, family, neighbours, who are aware of what these people are doing’.

The BBC Wales investigation also revealed a convicted badger baiter that had been boasting on a closed Facebook group dedicated to Patterdale terriers about setts he had dug up and his breeding of puppies for hunting. The man denies all allegations, including ownership of dogs and hunting for badgers.

Exposed: The Secret World of Badger Baiters is on BBC One Wales at 10:35pm tonight (May 22).

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Police confirm firefighter died in Neyland boat collision

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE attended Neyland Marina, Milford Haven following reports of a collision on the waterway at around 11:30am on Tuesday, (Sept 17).

A spokesman told The Herald: “We can confirm a 35-year-old serving Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service Firefighter tragically lost his life during the incident, in which two boats collided.

“Next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers. Specialist teams from both the fire and rescue service and police were also on scene supporting witnesses.

“We have informed the Marine Accident Investigation Board and will be working with them to establish what happened here today.

“Our thoughts go out to the family of the deceased and to his colleagues at Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.”

Deputy Mayor of Neyland, Cllr Dr Simon Hancock said: “I extend my deepest condolences to the family of the young man who so tragically died in the accident this morning. I know the whole town will join me in sending them to his family.

“We acknowledge the remarkable professionalism of the emergency and rescue services who responded to this very sad incident.’

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Crown court to sentence Pembroke Dock paedophile

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A 46-YEAR-OLD man who pleaded guilty to being in possession of over 6,500 indecent ‘real photographs’ of children, has been sent to Swansea Crown Court for sentencing by Haverfordwest magistrates.

Brett Johnson of Finch Close, first appeared before magistrates at Haverfordwest Law Court on August 27, and appeared again before the court on Monday (Sept 16) following a pre-sentence report made by the probation service.

Johnson pleaded guilty at the first court hearing to a charge of downloading one indecent image of a child between March 30, 2009, and June 28, 2018, and pleaded guilty to a second charge of downloading 6,570 indecent images of children between June 30, 2005, and June 28, 2018.

Prosecuting at the first hearing, Mr Vaughan Pritchard-Jones told the Court that the reason for the long dates related to when he owned various computers.

Magistrates at Haverfordwest on Monday (Sept 16) decided to decline jurisdiction and sent the case to be dealt with at Swansea Crown Court on October 4 at 10am. Johnson was released on unconditional bail.

Magistrates made no direction under section 45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999.

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Glebelands Fun Day A Hit

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A FUN DAY at Glebelands play park in Hakin on Saturday (Sept 14) to garner support to further develop the facility, has been hailed a success.

The prime movers behind the community-led event were two local residents, Richard Nicholas and Wayne Richards.

“As well as trying to raise the profile of the park, the aim of the fun day was to get other local residents involved in setting up a community group to move the project forward,” explained Richard.

“I’m pleased to say there was a lot of interest in forming a group and we also had some great feedback on what play equipment should be installed. There was a clear view that people want the park back to being a safe, clean area where children can play.

Working with Richard and Wayne, to organise the community-led fun day were Pembrokeshire County Council and the Invest Local organisation.

The County Councillor for Hubberston, Viv Stoddart, who attended the event, said: “It was an amazing day – a perfect example of the community coming together to host an afternoon of fun for all the family. There was something for all to enjoy – and enjoy they did, with lots of smiley faces from everyone.

If Saturday’s event is a guide, it was evident there is enthusiasm in the community to transform the play park into an up-to-date facility. I wish them well, and will give all the support I can to see the playground become a truly family fun place for all.”

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