The Hunt Saboteurs Association can reveal that one of West Mercia Police’s wildlife crime officers, PC Gerry Plant, is a keen hunter and his Facebook friends list contains many animal abusers. Among them is Tony O’Brien (also known as Tony Smith). O’Brien is a well known fox digger and a serving police officer’s association with such a person is deeply concerning. O’Brien is pictured below (right) with a bloodied terrier whilst another man torments a fox who is barely still alive.
Plant, based at Telford, also owns Staffordshire Game Hawks and breeds peregrines to sell to hunters. The falconry industry has grown considerably over recent years, driven by wealthy hunters from the Middle East purchasing birds from the UK. With such a disregard for suffering to animals, it’s deeply worrying that West Mercia Police saw it fit to allow him the position of wildlife crime officer.
Gerry Plant is by no means the first wildlife crime officer involved in the persecution of the UK’s wildlife. In October 2017, Leicestershire Police’s wildlife officer, PC Rob Cross, was recorded advising the Atherstone Hunt on which laws to use against hunt saboteurs. In 2016, PC Sharon Roscoe, another wildlife officer for Leicestershire police, was outed as an active member of the Belvoir Hunt. In 2013, PC Sarah Ward was forced to step down from her position as wildlife crime officer for North Yorkshire Police after the HSA exposed her links to the Badsworth & Bramham Moor Hunt.
The Hunt Saboteurs Association’s spokesperson, Lee Moon commented: How West Mercia police believe such a man is suitable to be a wildlife crime officer is beyond comprehension. His attitude towards animals is clear from his ownership of Staffordshire Game Hawks and his list of facebook friends is a catalogue of animal abusers. The public can surely have no faith that such a man would investigate any hunting crimes or indeed any crimes against wildlife. The animal abusers of Telford and surrounding areas must be delighted to have one of their own on the inside and will be carrying out unspeakable acts against animals with complete impunity.