‘Cruel’ badger baiters jailed

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TWO Doncaster men are in jail today after being found committing ‘barbaric’ crimes against animals.

A third man could follow them into prison after all three admitted being involved in badger baiting in the Derbyshire countryside.

Magistrates at Chesterfield were told the trio had gone equipped with spades and tracking equipment to locate a badger.

They fled when police arrived but were caught.

The court also heard a terrier-type dog suffered severe injuries to its face when it was sent into a badger sett in the Whitwell area of North Derbyshire.

Deputy District Judge Goodman told the men: “You considered this cruel act to be sport.

“All right-thinking people would consider it barbaric.

“It was a cruel and callous act. You set out on a determined mission with badger-baiting equipment. Badgers must not be subjected to vicious attacks by several dogs put there by people like you.”

Barry Scott, aged 24, of Norman Crescent, Sunnyfields, Liam Smith, aged 21, of Denaby Avenue, Conisbrough, and 22-year-old Daniel Davey, of Manor Court, Denaby, admitted interfering with a badger sett and causing unnecessary suffering to a dog on November 30 last year.

They pleaded guilty on the basis the offences resulted from reckless behaviour.

The RSPCA, which prosecuted the case, believed there was deliberate intent and a mini-trial was held to decide what exactly happened.

Mr Goodman said all three had lied at the mini-trial about their intentions, in which Davey came across as ‘the prime mover’.

Smith was a willing participant while Scott allowed himself to be led - driving them to the woodland sett in his father’s van.

Locking up Davey and Smith for 20 weeks, Mr Goodman said the sentences should act as a deterrent to others interested in badger-baiting.

Scott was handed a 16-week jail term but it was suspended for a year. He was also ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work, with £250 costs.

All three were banned from keeping animals for an indefinite period. They can apply for the bans to be lifted after five years.

Six dogs taken from the pair will be rehomed by the RSPCA.

Mr Goodman also ordered that two spades, two dog tracking collars, transmitters and receivers used by the trio be destroyed.

Defence lawyer Ann Marie Gregory said all three regretted embarking on what she called ‘a stupid venture’ and were fearful of going to prison.

Scott sobbed as his mother Beverley, a prison service worker, told the court: “What my son has done is disgraceful. I am ashamed of him. I was absolutely disgusted by his behaviour but I know he is truly sorry.

“He went off the rails following his grandfather’s death.”

At an earlier hearing, charges of causing unnecessary suffering to three other dogs - two terrier-types and a lurcher-type - were withdrawn by the RSPCA.