Today at Wrexham Magistrates Court the ex-Wynnstay huntsman Christopher Woodward pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett contrary to the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.
Woodward was ordered to pay a £500 fine plus £200 victim surcharge and £85 costs. The fine takes into account his guilty plea and income and is to be paid within 28 days. The Hunting Act charges – which he entered a not guilty plea to – will go to court in October this year.
There is, of course, only one reason that the Wynnstay Hunt would block a badger sett: to trap foxes above ground so they can be illegally hunted.
Back on 3rd February this year, huntsman Christopher Woodward and whipper-in Charlie Young were caught red-handed blocking the badger sett near Whitchurch, North Wales, in preparation for the following day’s hunting in the area. Sabs confronted the two, who quickly scarpered the scene. The incident was reported via The Times and also on our website. Filming credits go to Covert Film Unit and
the Hunt Saboteurs Association.
North Wales Police launched an investigation which lead to the former huntsman employed by the Wynnstay Hunt appearing in court today.
Just three weeks prior to this February incident, the two were also caught on camera blocking the very same sett, showing a pattern of organised crime relating to badger sett interference and intended illegal fox hunting. Despite a badger’s ability to live underground and with lower levels of oxygen, in some cases they can suffocate as a result of their setts being damaged.
Hunt staff were working under instructions from the hunt mastership who at the time included prominent figures such as King Charles’ close friend Lord Daresbury (Peter Greenhall).
Woodward – now a regular at court, it seems – has moved on to the Heythrop Hunt who themselves have been in trouble with the law in the past including the high-profile conviction of ex-huntsman Julian Barnfield.
An HSA spokesperson commented, “The blocking of badger setts is routine practice by fox hunts across the country. Not only is such behaviour illegal under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, it provides obvious evidence of the intent to commit offences under the Hunting Act.
The fact that this seedy pair were caught on film at the same badger sett only weeks earlier beggars belief and provides further compelling evidence of the habitual nature of such offences.”