Guilty verdict for illegal hunters
Three people have been convicted and fined for five different counts of illegal fox hunting. Andrew Phillis, Neill Millard and Rachel Holdsworth of the Sussex based Crawley and Horsham Hunt were found guilty at Haywards Heath Magistrates’ Court for breaches of the Hunting Act.
Mr Phillis a former huntsman, was found guilt of illegally hunting a fox on two occasions in January last year and found not guilty of one charge of illegal hunting in February 2011. Ms Holdsworth who was acting as the hunt’s ‘whipper in’ was also found guilty of illegal hunting on the same dates in January and joint master Mr Millard was found guilty of breaches to the Act on one of the dates in January 2011. All three denied the charges claiming that they had been trail hunting and following a scent at Marlpost Wood and Shermanbury Place when the offences took place.
Ms Holdsworth and Mr Millard were fined a total of £1,500 and ordered to pay £2,500 each in costs. Mr Phillis is to be sentenced at a later date.
Commenting on the verdict, the League’s Chief Executive Joe Duckworth said: “This is a fantastic result and proof that hunters who think they can flout the law and chase and kill wild animals illegally will be brought to justice. The verdict comes in the same week as the League’s new investigations team is launched and this will act as a real catalyst for our team of professional investigators to get out there and collect evidence which will help bring even more wildlife criminals to justice”.
The League has recently recruited a number of new investigators to join its operations team working in the field to tackle wildlife crime.