Well…. it’s been a stop start rollercoaster of a season. Covid regulations and lockdown hampered our work in the cull zone with North Wales Police warning us not to cross the border into England, but luckily not all our sabs are based this side of the border. With another huntsman coming in once again (that’ll be the 3rd different huntsman in as many years that we’ve got to deal with after Jeremy Reed and Nigel Cox) at the Flint and Denbigh hunt this time in the form of Robert Medcalf it was difficult to know what to expect from him…. But rather predictably it was blatant illegal hunting from cubbing until lockdown finally put an early end to the season just before Christmas. We’d heard some terrible stories about Robert Medcalf being sacked from the South Devon for cruelty to hounds after being reported by the hunts own photographer. The rumours are nobody wanted to take the job at the Flint and Denbigh hunt, apparently the hunt are financially on their knee’s, that with getting sabs week in week out and a complete lack of areas to hunt, this is not an attractive job, hence why the Flint and Denbigh hunt really had to scrape the barrel to find a new huntsman.
Cubbing was hard going with our numbers down due to restrictions on travel. The fact the new huntsman doesn’t appear to have ever read the hunting act. The Flint and Denbigh were also breaching Covid regulations every week with the police coming up with different excuses for them each time. Once in the middle of lockdown and the so called closed border, former Flint and Denbigh huntsman Nigel Cox had decided it was ok for him to travel all the way from Derbyshire to attend a meet in Kinmel estate. It was seeming everything was against us……
Then one Friday evening (November Friday the 13th to be exact) the leaked zoom webinar story broke! With the English hunts still in lockdown, we had the first opportunity to gauge the hunts reaction the very next morning….. and this time we had the numbers, and it was worth seeing! We greeted the hunt with calls of “Zooooom” and “Where’s your smokescreen”. Their faces were a picture and they had nothing to say (for a change). We continued the onslaught on the Flint and Denbigh hunt who looked broken. Despite our number being down we were all over them. On 3 separate occasions we filmed hounds chasing foxes, one in particular was interesting as we had also filmed the “trail layers” now known as the “smokescreen” admitting they hadn’t laid any trails, just before the hunt were caught hunting a fox with the huntsman in screenshot not calling the hounds off. This was submitted to the police, we’ll get back to this in a moment.
At the same time of the leaked zoom webinar North Wales Police, yes that’s the force who’ve harassed us for years, seemed to have had a change of heart. Instead of hassling us they were looking at the hunt, listening to what we were saying, using the drone and in general not being such b@5tards. A few of the officers who we’d had previous bad experience with seemed to have dropped off the scene. It was just the Flint and Denbigh hunt we managed to hit, we also attended a cubbing meet of the notorious Barlow hunt and a midweek hit on the Wynnstay hunt who now have the incompetent Jay Reardon as the whipper-in (formerly of the F&D) it’s fair to say they weren’t very pleased to see us. With another lockdown in December it put an end to hunting before the usually Boxing Day parades, and not long later we heard that both the Flint and Denbigh and the Wynnstay had called an end to the season.
Back to the hunting act case, all had appeared to be going well. PC Jones took our evidence and was in agreement a fox was being chased, PC Smith from the rural crime team had visited us at home to sign for further evidence. But with the time limit running out we again warned the police of the time scale on this. Then the day after the time limit expired we received the news that head of the rural crime team Rob Taylor had gone behind the backs of officers working on this case and had discontinued the case whilst it was still with the CPS. It’s clear that Taylor is the problem in the rural crime team. There will never be a prosecution of one of these hunts whilst he is in charge. And now we hear he will not only be head of Nwp rural crime team but head of a new team that covers the whole of Wales. A complaint has been filed against Rob Taylor, not that we’ve ever had any luck with police professional standards who also whitewash and take the side of the police, but let’s hope the officers who worked on this case will give an honest statement when contacted by professional standards. Taylor isn’t fit for purpose.
Another point worth noting is we have a new Police Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin who tells us he’s 100% anti fox hunting, which is until at least one of the candidates. Safe to say we are glad to be shut of Arfon Jones who never supported us and only ever stuck up for pals in blue.