Four men jailed for 'barbaric' badger baiting

Four men were jailed yesterday for badger baiting in a case described by the judge as "barbaric" and "abhorrent".

They were among a group of seven spotted by walkers after they had dug out the animals from a sett on a riverbank at Howsham, near York, last January.

The walkers watched horrified as the dogs were allowed to play tug of war with one badger and the gang laughed. It was eventually shot in the head. Earlier the dogs had ripped apart a pregnant female which bled to death. When the men realised they had been seen they tried to bury it in its hole.

Alan Alexander, 32, Richard Simpson, 37, and Paul Tindall, 31, all from York and William Anderson, 26, from Pickering, North Yorkshire, were jailed for 16 weeks at Scarborough magistrates' court. They were found guilty of charges including wilfully killing a badger and hunting a mammal with dogs.

Christopher Holmes, 28, and Malcolm Warner, 28, also from York, were handed 12-week custodial sentences suspended for a year after they admitted the charges. A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named, was given a youth rehabilitation order.