(8) My Investigation (Part 3)

I’ve been asked about the search at the kennels following the arrest of Rose and its validity! As previously stated I suspected there was a good chance that further fox cubs could have been taken to the kennels and would end up suffering a cruel and terrifying death in the same way that first four had. (And no doubt many more before them).

The RSPCA Inspector agreed with me.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 Section 18 states ‘If an Inspector or a constable reasonably believes that a protected animal is suffering, he may take, or arrange for the taking of, such steps as appear to him to break immediately necessary to alleviate the animal’s suffering’.

Section 19 states, ‘Power of entry for section 18 purposes’ ‘ An inspector or a constable may enter premises for the purpose of searching for a protected animal and of exercising any power under section 18 in relation to it if he reasonably believes- (a) that there is a protected animal on the premises, and (b) that the animal is suffering or, if the circumstances of the animal do not change, it is likely to suffer’.

Getting a warrant to execute the search on a Saturday night would have delayed the search further and so the common sense approach was taken to act immediately.

I hope that makes sense.

Back to the investigation. I received the preliminary reports from the post mortem carried out on both recovered fox cubs. Although no doubt painful and distressing fo them, the HIT team showed great fortitude in recovering the bodies, as the evidence of the post mortems would prove crucial to the investigation.

The preliminary reports concluded 1. Both foxes were alive when they were attacked by a dog or dogs and sustained severe thoracic injury. 2. Fox 1 was killed as a consequence of the severe thoracic injury. There is no evidence at all for fox 1 being hit over the head to kill it. 3. Fox 2 had a very severe injury to the head which would have been instantly fatal in my view but also had a very severe injury to the chest which occurred in life therefore both of the foxes must have been alive when they were attacked by the dogs. 4. Fox 1 would have been conscious when the attack occurred and at this stage my belief is that fox 2 would have been as well. 5. The account that you suggested to me that the foxes had been both hit over their head and killed before being placed in a carcase bin and that the fox carcases were removed after death and thrown to the hounds by the investigating officers can be completely discredited on the basis of the preliminary post mortem. (It had been suggested that the HIT team had put the dead fox cubs in with the hounds to ‘fit up’ the hunt)!!

So, there we have it. The account that Oliver and Rose had given to the other Masters was clearly a lie.

I went to the two shooting estates where we knew the first two fox cubs had come from and took statements from the Game Keepers. The first Keeper said that they had problems with foxes killing the birds and so had to control them. He said he phoned Parry, a Terrier man who he had met at a hunt meeting earlier in the year. He had never used him previously and would normally shoot foxes himself but the earth being used was on the boundary and so he wasn’t happy to shoot there. He said that his expectation was that Parry would dig out the foxes and kill them immediately at the site. He said he would never have agreed to Parry taking any live foxes away from the premises. He said that Parry would never be allowed back to the estate again. The Keeper said that when Parry attended to dig out the foxes he was in company with his partner and another male person.

The second Keeper said that he met Julie Elmore as she went beating on shoot days at the estate. She introduced him to her partner Parry, who said that he was a Terrier man for the South Hereford Hunt. Julie said that if they needed to get rid of any foxes to give him a ring. He said that in February or March 2016 the South Hereford Hunt attended the estate for a hunt. He said that Nathan and Julie attended with another male, not known to him. They had a quad bike and terriers with them and went out with the hunt. He said that in May 2016 they were having problems with fox cubs on the estate. He said he contacted Julie and asked if they wanted to go and sort them out. He said, ‘By this I meant that I wanted them caught and killed to prevent any further problems’. On 14th May 2016 Parry, Elmore and the same male who had been with them during the hunt, attended the estate. The Keeper left them to dig out the fox earth. When he spoke to Julie by text later she told him they had got two. The keeper saw one dead fox cub in a wheelbarrow in the yard after this. He said it would have been about a month old. He assumed that the other dead cub had been left in the earth. He said that he would never have given them permission to take live foxes away from the estate.

I got evidence statements from the RSPCA Inspector and from an Animal Health Officer from the Animal and Plant Health Agency. She had carried out an inspection of the hunt kennels site on 27th May 2016 which was caught on HITs secret filming. She confirmed that the people on film with her were Paul Oliver and Hannah Rose.

I also took statements from HIT members which were very lengthy and complicated due to documenting the hours of video footage and exhibiting the SD cards containing the evidence. Although this was somewhat complicated, I thought the evidence was clear and simple.

My sergeant and Inspector were impressed and pleased with the work I had done in securing the evidence and everyone was happy for me to continue alone with the investigation.

I seemed to have the support of both the HIT and the remaining Masters of the SHH. Everything seemed to be good!! But all that was about to change…………..

(7) My Investigation (Part 2)

The Masters of The South Hereford Hunt told me that the Terrierman, Nathan Parry, had found a GPS tracker on his vehicle and that police were going to his house at 3pm on Thursday 2nd June to collect it.

I attended his address near Abergavenny at this time. The information I had been given was correct and Parry was at his address with two police officers. What surprised me was that they were Special Branch Detective Constables from the Wales Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit!

It was a tracker, not a bomb!!………………………. But as I said previously any reports in connection with Hunt Monitors receive very special attention. Why is that?

Anyway, I introduced myself to the officers who looked somewhat surprised to see me. One of the detectives was holding a Faraday bag containing the GPS tracker. Faraday bags are used to block remote wiping or alteration of wireless devices. I then arrested Parry one suspicion of animal cruelty. I explained the reason for the arrest and said that I was looking for a tracking device that I believed Parry had found on his vehicle. The Detective then handed me the Faraday bag containing the GPS tracker. The detectives said that they were going to see if they could find out who put the tracker on Parry’s vehicle. I told them that I knew who put it on there and it was now part of my evidence.

I took Parry to Hereford Police Station where I interviewed him.

So, Just to recap, Mr Parry, The Terrierman said he had dug out or captured about 20 foxes in a 6 month period. (Not including the 4 fox cubs) He shot 2 and so released/relocated about 18 of them………but couldn’t remember the names of any farms or estates where he had released them! He had only ever taken 4 fox cubs to the South Hereford Hunt Kennels………….and the HIT were incredibly lucky to capture all 4 of these on film. What are the chances? He loved the sport of watching his dogs work, digging out the foxes, but he didn’t have the heart to kill them if he didn’t need to so would kindly take them to land where farmers quite like to see them. (Those farmers wouldn’t happen to hunt, would they)?

So Mr Parry, the Terrierman for The South Hereford Hunt has dispelled this myth that foxes are vermin and need controlling. Thank you Nathan.

Now, there’s something I noticed that didn’t quite make sense. Parry said that he found the GPS tracker on his vehicle on 16th May, which marries up with what HIT said. Parry said he took it off and spoke to a police officer that he knew, and it went from there. This police officer was a personal friend of Parry and his partner, Julie Elmore. The police officer evidenced that in early may 2016 he was contacted by Julie who wanted some advice. She told him that she had found a tracker attached to one of her vehicles and had removed it. She said that she believed that the tracker may have been placed on the vehicle by anti hunt activists as both her and her partner were involved in the Herefordshire Hunt.

The officer documented that he took advice from his sergeant who told him to contact Special Branch. The officer also documented that Elmore had indicated to him that she thought the tracker had been on the vehicle a while due to the large amount of disruption during the hunting season and that other staff at the kennel were under investigation regarding offences concerning foxes.

The problem with this officer’s evidence is that he phoned Gwent Police to report the incident while off duty……..on 29th May. (The day after I had arrested and interviewed Oliver and Rose)!!

So, what happened between the 16th and 29th May is unclear. What is clear is that Parry and Elmore were obviously contacted on 29th May giving them the heads up about police involvement at the kennels. (It would give them a chance to get their stories straight, knowing that they would also be questioned). They in turn then spoke to this police officer who decided it was so urgent, he couldn’t wait until he returned to duty to report it!!

If the officer knew about the tracker when it was discovered on 16th May, why didn’t he do anything about it then? This seemed very strange.

(6) My Investigation (Part 1)

Well, I say my investigation but as you’ve seen, most of the work had already been done by the Hunt Investigation Team. (HIT)

For me, it was a job to know where to start. I had some video footage, two suspects who had both made no comment interviews and the bodies of two of the fox cubs. 

I found out who the Chairman of the South Hereford Hunt was and paid him a visit. I also found out that there were 4 other ‘Masters’ and again spoke to them. To say that they were all deeply worried would be an understatement. They knew that secret filming had taken place at the kennels. They also knew about the tracker on Parry’s vehicle. What they didn’t know, was how long that filming had been going on and the extent of the investigation and filming.

Had their vehicles been fitted with trackers? What other video footage had been captured? What else would be uncovered? I am sure that all of these and more questions were running through their minds, especially if they knew they had something to hide! In any event, to my surprise the other Masters did want to cooperate with the investigation, if for no other reason than to completely distance themselves from the crimes. They were all too aware of the gravity of the situation and the huge ramifications it would bring. They were all upstanding members of the community and had their personal reputations to protect.

In normal circumstances I’m sure they would have stood shoulder to shoulder to protect the reputation of the hunt, but they knew this was beyond the pale. Whatever their reasoning, their evidence would turn out to be fairly crucial.

What the other Masters said….

They said that Paul Oliver was the Master Huntsman, a hunt employee who was responsible for the hounds and the kennels. His partner Hannah Rose was also employed by the hunt as a kennel Maid/ Groom. They both started working for the hunt at the beginning of May, 2015. They lived in a house on the site of the kennels. They were the only paid employees of the hunt. Everyone else volunteered. Although Oliver had specific responsibility for the hounds and kennels, all of the Masters had joint responsibility for the running of the hunt. Oliver’s role would include looking after and training the hounds, picking up fallen livestock from farms in the surrounding area, then skinning and processing these. Some of this meat would then be used to feed the hounds. Oliver would then be responsible for the disposal of the remainder of the fallen livestock via a collection company. He would exercise and train the hounds and during the hunting season would hunt with the hounds twice a week. Hannah Rose was employed to assist with the hounds and to look after the hunt horses. On the evening of Saturday 28th May 2016 the Masters were made aware that Oliver and Rose had been arrested by police in respect of fox cubs being found at the kennels. They said they knew nothing more than this at the time. They said that on the following morning a meeting was held with the Chair, three of the four remaining Masters, (one was away), the Hunt Secretary and the Hunt Treasurer. Oliver and Rose were asked to attend and explain what had happened and the reason for them being arrested.

They said that Oliver claimed he had brought two fox cubs to the kennels for relocation. He said that he had not had time to relocate them and that they were having a DEFRA inspection on the 27th May. He said that he made the decision to dispatch the fox cubs. He was asked how he did this. He said that he hit them on the head with an axe. He also said that no hound DNA would be found on the fox cubs if they were tested. He was asked specifically and he said that he had not put the fox cubs in with the hounds. At one point Oliver said that if the hunt did not support him then he would seek legal advice!

He was asked if any other fox cubs had been brought to the kennels and he said that they had not. Oliver said that the quality of the video was not good and that you couldn’t even make out that it was him! He played down the incident. Rose supported Oliver in what he was saying although she seemed a lot more uncomfortable about it. The meeting then ended.

The hunt suspended Oliver and Rose during the following week. In their statement the other Masters said, ‘The evidence which has been filmed, suggests that Paul Oliver kept live fox cubs at the kennels and then put them, still alive, in with the hounds at the kennels. This is not a practice that is acceptable to The South Hereford Hunt’. All of the remaining Masters gave assurances that they were not aware that any fox cubs had been taken to the kennels. They said that they would never have allowed this had they known what was happening. They said they had not been aware that any fox cubs had been killed by the hounds at the kennels saying they would never have allowed this to happen.

Crucially, the other Masters wrote that they had been made aware that covert cameras were placed in the grounds of the kennels to secretly film what was happening. They wrote that, although no-one had permission to trespass on their land and place the covert cameras, it was only because this happened that this evidence had come to light. The South Hereford Hunt were therefore not seeking to question this trespass or the placing of covert cameras at the kennels without permission on this occasion. They said that The South Hereford Hunt did not condone what happened at the kennels in any way whatsoever and that they would be putting in place measures to make sure this could never happen again.

There was no evidence that the other Masters of The South Hereford Hunt were directly involved in these criminal offences. But, while I have no sympathy for Oliver or Rose, I can’t help but think that they were the scapegoats. There’s no doubt that there must be great pressure on ‘Huntsman’ across the country to ‘perform’. As the only paid people within the Hunt, they risk losing their jobs if they don’t. The other Masters and senior members of the Hunt wouldn’t necessarily care HOW the hounds perform……as long as they do.

With my limited knowledge and, I hope I’m not being completely naive about this, I also believe that it’s possible that the majority of the people hunting are unaware of the lengths gone to to make sure foxes appear on the day. Having observed the hunting within my area it appeared that the Majority of the Hunt are deliberately held back a long way behind the hounds, Huntsman and Whips. It is only when the hounds give chase to a fox that the rest of the Hunt get to catch up. They wouldn’t be able to see if the fox had been released from a man made earth, a bag or the box on the Terrierman’s quad bike!! Is it possible that many people within the hunts believe that they are trail hunting and when foxes ‘break cover’, this is a complete accident? Certainly, with the amount of foxes killed during ‘legal’ hunting, most people must think the countryside is awash with them!! ………….or AM I just being completely naive?

(5) The HIT Investigation


If I’m honest, at the start I still hadn’t completely got my head around what had happened and how HIT had ended up secretly filming at the SHH kennels. But here it is…

HIT had received information that live foxes were being kept on site at the kennels. They also had information that a Terrier Man, Nathan Parry was releasing live foxes during the hunts and that he kept foxes in captivity in cages for this purpose. HIT established where Parry lived and what vehicle he drove. One night Operatives of HIT attended Parry’s address and secretly placed a GPS tracking device on his vehicle. The hunting season had finished but HIT were aware that this period was used by hunt staff and followers that were willing to flout the hunting law, to repopulate hunting areas with foxes that could then be used to be hunted during the following season.

Parry’s vehicle was then tracked by HIT, to gather evidence of offences being committed.

On the morning of Saturday 14th May 2016 Parry’s vehicle was shown to attend a house on a shooting estate near Kilpeck, Herefordshire. (It was later established that this was the Game Keeper’s house). An hour later the vehicle left the house and half an hour after this the vehicle stopped at another location within the estate. (Lets say GPS grid ref 123 456). Nearly two hours after this Parry’s vehicle left the estate and drove directly to the South Hereford Hunt Kennels where it arrived 15 minutes later. The vehicle then left the kennels 20 minutes later. (Pretty clever stuff tracking so accurately).

At around dusk on this day HIT Operatives attended GPS grid ref 123 456. It was a secluded location where there was a badger sett which was now inhabited by foxes. They found evidence of foxes being fed in that there were pheasant or chicken carcasses/ wings/feet around the site and in the entrances to the earth. There were also signs of the ground having been cleared and levelled indicating that the earth had either been dug or that traps had been set. The HIT Operatives thought that given the previous information and the evidence from the tracker, that live foxes may have been taken from the location to the hunt kennels.

They then went to the SHH kennels in darkness and covertly looked around to see what they could find. In the rear of an open back trailer within the grounds of the kennels they found a metal cage containing a live fox cub.

HIT had not initially gone to the kennels with the intention of filming anything but having seen the fox cub caged in the middle of the hunt kennel premises they were then sure that criminal activity was taking place.

A covert camera was then placed at the kennels, looking at the trailer containing the fox cub.

It is fair to say that both with the GPS tracking deice and the covert camera HIT stated they had considered the intrusion aspect of what they were doing but felt it was justified as it was the only way anyone would be able to investigate this animal cruelty.

HIT continued to monitor the tracking device on Parry’s vehicle. On the afternoon of Sunday 15th May 2016 Parry’s vehicle attended the hunt kennels. It then left five minutes later and ten minutes after this it stopped on a shooting estate in Pencoyd, Herefordshire.(Lets say GPS ref 789 123). It remains for about an hour and a half and then goes back to the hunt kennels. The vehicle leaves the kennels just over an hour later.

HIT Operatives then attended GPS ref 789123 where they found an old badger set which looked to be populated by foxes. Again there was evidence of the land being disturbed. At about 0400 on Monday 16th May 2016 HIT Operatives returned to the grounds of the hunt kennels. Again there was a live fox cub in the same cage in the back of the open backed trailer.

The HIT Operatives replaced the SD card from the covert camera and went to view what had been recorded. The recording showed that at 0811 hours on Sunday 15th May, (the day before), The Master Huntsman, Paul Oliver goes to the cage containing the first fox cub. At 0839 hours he returns to the cage holding a pole with a wire loop at one end. Oliver uses this noose to pull the fox cub out of the cage. The cub can be heard screaming in distress and it is struggling. Hannah Rose then appears at the back of the trailer watching what goes on. Oliver puts the fox cub on the floor of the trailer and looks as though he places his foot on it to keep it still. He then reaches down and tries to pick the cub up but it looks like he gets bitten. He then manages to pick up the cub by it’s scruff. Oliver goes out of camera shot and within 30 seconds the kennel hounds can be heard barking, which they were not previously.

At 1643 hours on the same day the video evidence shows a fox cub being brought to the kennels. (Directly corresponding with the time the tracker shows Parry’s vehicle returning from the shooting estate at Pencoyd)………so the cubs seen on consecutive nights by the HIT team were different cubs. (I hope you’re keeping up)!

There was no further relevant GPS tracker activity from 16th May 2016 and the HIT team assumed that the tracker had been discovered. (Which it had)!

Overnight on 16th/17th May 2016 HIT returned to the kennels and the cage which had contained the fox cubs was empty. On checking the video evidence from the covert cameras the HIT team saw that on the afternoon of 16th May Paul Oliver and Hannah Rose again go to the trailer containing the cage. Oliver is seen taking a fox cub, again hanging by the noose and he walks towards the direction of the kennels. Rose follows him. Again, a short time later, the hounds can be heard in cry.

HIT operatives then visited the kennels each night between the 17th and 24th May but found no other fox cubs in the cage during this time.

On the evening of Wednesday 25th May 2016 two live fox cubs were filmed being brought to the kennels and placed in the cage.

Overnight into 26th May HIT team attended the kennels and found the two fox cubs in the cage. They then moved the covert cameras and so one camera was pointed towards the kennels.

They returned overnight on 26th/ 27th and the cubs were still in the cage.

On the morning of Friday 27th May 2016 the cameras recorded Paul Oliver carrying the two fox cubs, one at a time into the kennel building. He takes them into the building alive and then brings them out a short time later dead. He throws both dead fox cubs into a large wheelie bin. While in the kennels with the fox cubs the sound of a male making a whooping sound can be heard. The HIT team believes this was Oliver trying to excite the hounds, encouraging them to attack the live cubs.

On returning to the kennels on the evening of Friday 27th May The HIT team saw that the fox cubs were gone from the cage. On reviewing the video evidence from the covert cameras, they then realised what had taken place. They returned to the kennels and recovered the bodies of the two dead fox cubs. (which were subsequently handed to me on the following day).

The HIT team were devastated. Instead of capturing evidence of fox cubs being relocated they captured something even more truly shocking. This was just horrific. However, what they had captured on video would surely be the end of any hope of a repeal in the hunting act.

Now, I don’t know about you and I consider myself to be a very fair and reasonable person, but please don’t tell me this was just a ‘one off’!! What would be the chances of the HIT managing to capture on video the ONLY four fox cubs ever brought to the South Hereford Hunt kennels to be tortured and killed in this hideously barbaric way? How many other cubs over this and all the years before met the same fate? SPORT?

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(4) The Beginning

I had been a Safer Neighbourhoods officer in Ross on Wye for 4 or 5 years prior to this event. I also lived in the area and as such I had a good knowledge of the community and many people living there.

On Thursday 26th May 2016 I received a call from a local Hunt Monitor. They asked if I would ring and speak to someone about a possible animal cruelty offence but didn’t elaborate any more than that. I agreed to do this and then phoned the number given. The person I spoke to said that they thought the RSPCA were going to be able to deal with the matter but failing that, they would get back to me. I was still none the wiser as to any detail. I documented this in my pocket note book and left it at that.

On the morning of Saturday 28th May 2016 I received another call from the same person asking if they could meet me to report offences of animal cruelty. At about 1430 hours on this day this person, (who I will call Andy) attended Ross Police Station.

Andy explained that they were a member of The Hunt Investigation Team, (HIT) and had with them two dead fox cubs in plastic bags along with some video evidence which had been secretly filmed at The South Hereford Hunt Kennels. HIT had apparently been trying to evidence that hunts remove foxes and cubs from shooting estates, (where they were obviously not wanted by the land owners), and were ‘re-homing’ them on hunting land. This is apparently common place in the ‘cubbing’ season around this time. This evidence would not only show that hunts were very much pro actively hunting foxes, but also dispel the myth that fox numbers needed to be kept down.

HIT obviously had the clear evidence that fox cubs were being brought to the hunt kennels and kept in a cage in the grounds. Unfortunately what the evidence showed was that instead of being re homed, the fox cubs were being taken into the kennels alive by hunt staff and then being brought out dead, having been bitten to death by the hounds. This was presumably some sick, crude attempt at giving the hounds a taste for fox. I found it staggering that this was being done in the name of sport, for no other reason than to try not to disappoint the next hunt meeting.

But then, if you think about it, what incentive do any hunts have to move away from illegal hunting? The Conservative Party have continued to promise a repeal of The Hunting Act, (which they will never do) They have every hunt hanging onto a mythical thread of hope that one day their ‘tradition’ will be reinstated. Well, why don’t we bring back hanging and slavery as well while we’re at it? Come on Conservatives, grow some balls and tell them its over. Stop giving them false hope. Tell them to move on and enjoy riding without the killing. They are waiting for you.

Andy told me that the HIT were not originally planning on going to the police as they had no faith in them but they had been given my name as someone who might possibly deal with the investigation fairly and impartially. I explained that I had never dealt with an animal cruelty investigation previously but that I would deal with it as fairly, impartially and transparently as I could. Andy said something along the lines of, “If you don’t get a conviction, it will just be a bigger story”. (No pressure there then).

I contacted my sergeant and the duty Inspector who, A)Neither of which had any idea about the animal cruelty law either and, B) Were both more than happy for me to crack on and deal with it. (The offence wasn’t on my policing area and so I needed to check if they were happy for me to deal knowing this). I explained that this was something that would get National Media attention. At any point my supervisors could have told me that the case needed to be dealt with by someone with more experience, but they didn’t.

I took the initial details from Andy while I was trying to get my head around the sequence of events and what had actually taken place. We then met with an RSPCA Inspector who attended Ross Police Station and he confirmed what offences had taken place. He was also going to arrange for the bodies of the fox cubs to be sent to a Veterinary Pathologist for postmortems.

Timing was crucial. I didn’t have the luxury of being able to sit behind my desk and examine all of the evidence. The fox cubs had been filmed being brought to the kennels by a local Terrierman, Nathan PARRY. There was a good chance he could have brought further cubs to the kennels which might have then been killed in the same way. I had to go to the kennels on this day to make arrests, obtain more evidence and potentially save any other fox cubs which may be there.

I attended the kennels that evening along with the RSPCA Inspector. I arrested Hannah Rose, a Kennel Maid who I had witnessed on the video evidence. She was the partner of the Master Huntsman, Paul Oliver who was not present at the time. Thank goodness there were no other fox cubs at the kennels. We obtained the evidence we needed and I conveyed Rose to Hereford Police Station.

Later in the evening Paul Oliver attended Hereford Police Station and I arrested him too.

I interviewed both suspects who answered ‘no comment’ to all questions put to them in interview. They were both then bailed to return to the police station at a later date.

On this same day I spoke to Hereford Superintendent Sue Thomas and fully appraised her of the offence. She too was quite happy for me to continue with the investigation.

I went home in the early hours of the following morning feeling relatively happy with the investigation so far but knowing there was a long way to go. My experience of the hunts was that they closed ranks for the sake of hunting and I knew that getting further information and evidence from the other Masters was probably going to prove difficult.

(1) My first Blog

Virgin blogging technophobe so please bear with me.

In 2016 The Hunt Investigation Team (HIT) exposed animal cruelty at The South Hereford Hunt kennels in Herefordshire. Live fox cubs were being put to the hounds at the kennels in, presumably what was some barbaric attempt to give the hounds a taste for foxes, certainly a taste to kill.

The HIT team had obtained overwhelming video evidence, secretly filmed, of the offences along with the bodies of two fox cubs killed by the hounds at the hands of members of the hunt.

The HIT were of a mind initially not to report this directly to the police as, (because of previous negative experiences), they had no faith that justice would be served. They were apparently going to report it directly to the public through the press. However, this would likely mean that no prosecutions would take place……..and this is where I come into the story.

I had been a police constable for some 27 years, at that time working as the Safer Neighbourhoods Officer for the Ross on Wye area. I had gained some trust from some of the local ‘Hunt Monitors’ as being someone who dealt with things fairly and impartially.

The HIT made the cautious decision and asked if I would investigate the offences which I commenced on 28th May, 2016.

My investigation over the following 6 weeks went very well, perhaps too well in hindsight……….and I was removed from the case!

Over the following three years my family and I were subjected to the most stressful time of our lives in a series of bizarre events and accusations. Throughout this time I was silenced as a serving officer, punished as I attempted to blow the whistle, in fear that someone in power was orchestrating the end of my career. What also became apparent was I believe the sinister attempt by the criminal justice institutions to collapse the case rather than bring those responsible to trial.

Now retired I am free to give my evidenced account of what happened, of incredulous institutional prejudice and corruption which perhaps ended my career in naive disbelief that this behaviour still exists within the organisations that the public should be able to trust. Some of you will find what happened truly shocking, something that may have happened in years gone by…..but surely not now. How is it possible?

I will evidence how Birmingham Magistrates Court was deliberately mislead by a senior detective and of how he and other senior officers have been protected by the ‘organisation’ because of their ranks.

Most worryingly, West Mercia Police Professional Standards Department, the very people that officers and the public should be able to trust, were at the heart of this corruption and are still in place.

Having tried and failed time and time again to get these organisations to recognise failings…and simply apologise for those failings, it is now time to expose the truth to you, the people who pay for them and the people who have every right to expect the highest standards of integrity and ethical conduct from them.

I will make no apologies for naming people, as I believe exposing them is in the public interest. Miscarriages of justice have taken place by senior figures and nobody has been held accountable. Further injustices will no doubt take place if those in power do not or are not willing to listen.

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12th Jan 2020

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(2) Before I begin….


Until I joined West Mercia Police, I knew very little about hunting. While growing up in Chipping Norton I worked at The Fox Hotel washing pots and polishing the floors. On Boxing Day the hunt would meet at the entrance to the hotel and we would take sherry out to the riders before they all trotted off along West Street and up the Burford Road.

I think that’s how probably most people thought of the hunt, smartly dressed posh people parading on a special day. It was part of Christmas.

I have to admit, as a police officer The Hunting Act in 2004 came in and completely passed me by. I was not aware of any of my local hunts in my area of Surrey (Egham). We were given no training or input about the act and so I had no idea of the implications of it.

It was probably only about 8 or 9years ago that I first had to even think about it. There were more and more instances of hunts phoning to report problems with ‘anti’s’, ‘sabs’ or ‘animal rights activists’. We, (front line police) would be sent out to see what was happening. We were told to report back details of vehicles and occupants that we obtained. These would then be looked at by Special Branch. (SPECIAL BRANCH)?

Complaints from the hunt ‘monitors’ about illegal hunting would be lucky to get a uniformed constable, (who knew nothing/zero/zilch about the hunting act) to turn up but Special Branch were interested in all hunt monitors/protestors.

This didn’t seem to make sense!

There appeared to be somewhat of a vicious circle. The hunt monitors were trying to prevent and report incidents of illegal hunting. Hunters would phone the police and report ‘criminal behaviour’ by the ‘sabs’. The police would turn up and treat the hunt monitors as the criminals. Hunt monitors would, quite rightly, think the police were ‘siding’/in the pockets of the hunters. Hunt monitors would be, at best, very cautious with the police but extremely guarded, filming what police, (who didn’t know their powers) were doing. This in turn would aggravate the police who continued treating hunt monitors as the criminals. Hunt monitors became more and more guarded against the police sometimes covering their faces, wearing dark clothes, police would look at them and their police brains would definitely tell them that they were up to no good…..(Well, that’s how I saw it).

But crucially, police were not encouraged in any way to deal positively to reports of illegal hunting. Interestingly we had a talk from an officer who worked for The National Wildlife Crime Unit. He came to Hereford Police Station. During the talk he told us that the only wildlife crime they would not deal with was anything to do with hunting! Why should that be?

About 6 or 7 years ago I was asked to attend an incident of ‘hunt sabs’ causing problems in the Ross area. A member of The Ross Harriers Hunt had called this in. I attended but the hunt had moved off. As I drove down a nearby road a local resident flagged me down. I stopped and he told me that he couldn’t believe what he had just witnessed. He said he had been gardening at his house. He noticed a Landrover at the end of his garden on the road. He said that as the hunt rode past the leader of the hunt bent down, looked inside the back of the Landrover and said, “Look, they’ve got a fucking wog in the back”. The local resident couldn’t believe what he had witnessed.

I then continued after the hunt and found a black female hunt monitor who confirmed what the local resident had told me. I later arrested the Master of the Ross Harriers for Racially aggravated public order and he was subsequently found guilty at Hereford Magistrates Court by a District Judge. (Subsequently found not guilty on appeal at Worcester Crown Court….but thats another story).

Before the initial court case, rumours were spread in the local area about me having an affair with one of the hunt monitors!!! I wonder why they would want to do that then?

I knew that I would have to get a bit more knowledge on the hunting act and, in doing so slowly got some trust from some of our local hunt monitors.

But the hunting act I saw beggared belief. I’m still not sure that many people today and especially police officers, get it. So there’s this hunting act that bans hunting with more than 2 dogs………..unless they are hunting for rabbits or rats………

Now I don’t know about you but I don’t think a pack of hounds would know the difference (or give a shit) if they came across a rabbit a rat, a fox or your pet cat. They are going to kill it. (Did someone really come up with this law)?

So……. if you come across a hunt who are quite obviously not following a trail because the hounds are flushing out a hedgerow or spending an hour or so in a small wooded area, that’s all they have to say is that they are looking for rabbits and rats…….and they comply with the law.

So, following this, if a hunt ever reported to me that hunt monitors were committing aggravated trespass on land, (Disrupting a lawful activity) if it was clear that the hunt were not following a trail, I would tell them that whether or not they were conducting a lawful activity was subjective. (ie, I could not stand in front of a Magistrate or Judge and say that I was satisfied that a lawful activity was being disrupted). Because I refused to take action this then obviously reinforced the rumour that I was ‘anti hunt’ and having the affair!!

There were then other events which took place which reduced my respect for this hunt. While hunting, the lead hound of The Ross Harriers Hunt, Arrow, lead the pack onto the A40 and was killed by a Dutch articulated lorry. I arrived minutes later. The young Dutch lorry driver said that he couldn’t believe it. The hound had caused substantial damage to the front of the lorry. It died instantly. The hunt surrounded the lorry, the hound was scooped up and the hunt moved on without giving any details to the lorry driver. When I caught up with the hunt, they denied any knowledge of the incident to start with. It was only later they agreed that the incident took place. Disgraceful behaviour.

Lastly, in 2015 in an attempt to help ‘legitimise’ one of our local hunt monitor groups, I came up with an idea to help them. I explained the problems with ‘police officer brains’ seeing ‘sabs’ with dark clothes, looking sinister, covering their faces. Essentially, hunt monitors were just the same as people involved in neighbourhood watch schemes, preventing and reporting criminal/unlawful/antisocial behaviour. I said, if it were me, I would wear a bright T shirt which explained clearly what I was doing. They agreed and thought this was a cool idea. They applied to the police to become a ‘watch’ scheme. Unfortunately their application was turned down by the chief constable, Anthony Bangham!!!! Why? Maybe this is explained later in this blog!!

Local Hunt Monitor attempting to start a ‘Watch Scheme’!

(3) About me.

My Inspector once said to me, “Richard, Why have you never gone for promotion”? I replied, “I’ve got too much integrity sir”!!

Born in Wales in 1965, the son of a Police Officer and a Nurse. I have a brother and a sister, both older than me. We moved to Australia when I was 6 and then lived in New Guinea, leaving just before the country got it’s ‘Independence’ in 1975.

On returning to the UK we moved to Chipping Norton where I went to secondary school. My dad continued as a police officer and my mum worked at ‘Penhurst’, a National Childrens Home for physically disabled children. We lived at the home as a family for a number of years.

I wouldn’t say I was a complete rebel as a teenager but, let’s say, I knew how to party! I had mixed feelings about how I viewed the police but I had experienced the good and …not so good both through colleagues of my dad and through a few personal events!

What I always remembered was my dad telling me that if I wanted to make a difference, I should join.

I worked as a Residential Care Worker in various childrens homes for a number of years and in 1987 met my wife, Jane, also a care worker. We were married in 1988. Jane then became a nurse and in 1989 I took up my dad’s challenge and joined Surrey Police.

I remained with Surrey Police for 10 years during which time I was a Tutor Constable and worked for some time on the Child Protection Team. I loved working in the community and became the police liaison officer for the Royal Holloway University of London.

During this time Jane and I had two children.

In 1999 I joined West Mercia Police where I continued to enjoy working on the front line and in the community.

Prior to investigating this offence of animal cruelty, (later to be given the name ‘Operation Childer’), in 27 years of policing, I had never been investigated for any conduct issues. All that was about to change…….

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