A MAN found guilty of attempting to kill badgers on a farm has been ordered to pay £5,000 towards the cost of his failed appeal.
Paul Billington, 34 of Rossett and Gerard Monk, 28, of Wheelton in Lancashire, were both convicted of attempting to kill a badger, digging for badgers, three charges of interfering with a badger’s sett and hunting a wild mammal with dogs on May 11, 2008.
The trial followed an incident at a Shropshire farm.
Last year Shrewsbury Magistrates sentenced them to four-month suspended prison sentences and banned them from keeping dogs for five years. They were also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £12,376.25 in costs.
Sitting at Shrewsbury Crown Court the Recorder Ben Nicholls, accompanied by two justices, dismissed an appeal against conviction.
He said they were satisfied the evidence of James Ashley, chairman of the Shropshire Badger Group, could be relied on and said they did not accept Billington’s evidence.
Billington was ordered to pay £5,000 towards the £10,922 court costs.
The court was told Billington had met Monk to view two of his terriers and they took the dogs to Ashford Grange Farm in Whitchurch to hunt rabbits so he could see them in action.
Mr Billington told the court one of the dogs ran into Pond Wood and went down a hole.
It was yapping and whining and did not come out so a tracker collar was put on the other dog which went down the hole.
Billington said: “It definitely didn’t look like a badger sett to me so I wasn’t worried on that score, I thought may be a fox.
“I had a go at digging and Gerard had a go at digging. Gerard was kneeling down and calling and the first dog came out. There was grass growing in the entrances of the holes, if a badger was going back and forth that would be cleaned out. In 20 years I have always been in the woods and the fields and I have come into contact with badger setts.
“I didn’t think we had done anything wrong, to this day I don’t think I have done anything wrong. There was nothing to indicate it was a badger sett.”
The court had previously heard from Mr Ashley who said: “It was obvious to me it was a badger sett.”