Wirrel badger digger jailed

Leslie Fowell Imprisoned for 12 Weeks

On Tuesday 28 September 2004 a Wirral man was sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment at Wirral Magistrates Court for eight offences under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 (four offences of cruelly ill-treating a badger and four offences of willfully injuring a badger). He was also disqualified from keeping dogs for two years.

The offences came to light in January this year when officers were investigating an incident near to a badger sett at Poulton Hall, Wirral. Leslie Fowell (34) of Rock Ferry, Merseyside, was arrested at his home address on 5 March 2004. When his house was searched officers found still photographs and video-tapes showing his Staffordshire Bull terrier and other dogs fighting with badgers.

Constable Andrew McWilliam, Wildlife Crime Officer for Merseyside Police, said that the tapes showed several savage and prolonged attacks by the dogs on badgers. It was clear that these attacks were deliberate and men could be heard shouting encouragement to the dogs. The video showed the badgers being attacked at night and illuminated by high-powered lamps.

When interviewed by the officer, Fowell admitted that he was present with his dog during all the attacks, which he claimed had taken place at Caerwys in Flintshire between October and December 2003.

Following the sentence Constable McWilliam said, “These were offences of extreme cruelty and this prison sentence should warn others that this behaviour will not be tolerated.”

Dr. Elaine King, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Badger Groups, praised Merseyside Police for the tough stance they have taken in dealing with wildlife crime. Dr King said, “Merseyside Police are to be congratulated for the work they have done. This case is another example of the horrendous cruelty that badgers suffer at the hands of such criminals. The courts must be given the power to impose stronger sentences.”