Elections for Police and Crime Commissioners will take place this Thursday 5th May. Martin Surl, an ex-police officer, is the current PCC and has been during the last few years of badger culling in Gloucestershire. This year the elections will take place and a candidate running for the position is Will Windsor-Clive, Tory and chairman of the Ledbury Hunt.
Mr. Windsor-Clive has made various planning applications on his land, one of which may have been affected by the presence of an active badger sett in the area.
His response to this was that there was no sign of badgers on the land affected and that it did not matter anyway as the land was signed up to the badger cull (implying that any setts would be wiped out and therefore no longer have an effect on the application?)
The Ledbury Hunt, their terriermen and supporters have been caught on various occasions, this last season and previous seasons, breaking the law by chasing foxes, attempting to dig-out foxes (most of the time from active badger setts) and a large number of blocked badger setts have been found in areas in which they hunt (found freshly blocked on hunting days) and we caught the whipper-in and the huntsman’s son heading into a wood at 7am on a hunting day where a badger sett had been repeatedly blocked.
We suspect that the hunt use a number of artificial earths, like many hunts have done (and continue to do so). Whilst sett-surveying we found this artificial earth which we believe is on land belonging to the pro-cull shooting estate, Forthampton Estate. It is in good nick for something which shouldn’t have been used since 2004… Forthampton gamekeepers and Ledbury hunt support and terriermen were spotted attempting to use the artificial on February 19th this year, but were foiled by members of our sab group who were laying-in-wait for them in the area.
Supporters of the hunt have been investigated by the police on numerous occasions: we went through with a community resolution 2 seasons ago when supporter Rob Lewis broke a sab’s camera (he had to pay £200 towards a replacement), a supporter / terrierman has recently agreed to a community resolution having shoved a sab this season (more on this soon). Huntsman Mark Meladay is currently being questioned regarding an incident from a children’s meet back in February (the same day that supporters and terriermen held a dead fox out of a vehicle’s window to try and upset sabs – a vehicle pulling a trailer with a different number plate – an additional criminal offence). Rob Lewis, once again, has been accused of harassment against a female sab, incidents including comments he made to her regarding being on her period when she picked up the dead body of a fox after hounds had given chase and was covered in blood from it and various occasions where he’s told her to ‘be careful driving home’ and so on.
There are other open cases relating to aggression and assaults currently ongoing.
Some of these incidents can be seen in our end of season video from this year – the man telling others to ‘get the dogs out’ is Will Hunt who was known to be driving around during the cull, yelling at anti-cull patrollers about how many badgers he had shot (despite not being thought to be a shooter). Whipper-in Tim Pearce-May was also active during the cull.
The following video shows an attempted dig-out at an active badger sett in January 2015
And this one the last day of the season the same year
The incident involving Rob Lewis is shown in this video…
And part of the following video shows the field master of the Ledbury riding at sabs one day out in the field
More videos of the hunt chasing foxes include…
Here is Rob Lewis (and his pal) again
And some other regular hunt supporters…
We are concerned that the chairman of a hunt involved in criminal activity would be running for the position of Police and Crime Commissioner in Gloucestershire. Is he somehow completely oblivious to the activities of the hunt he is chairman of or is he entirely aware of what they get up to?
Shameful conflict of interest which should not be allowed to prevail. Who watches the watchman?