Fox cub cruelty accused’s Land Rover tracked to two ‘dug out’ sites, court told

A Land Rover linked to hunting kennels where live fox cubs were allegedly thrown to the hounds was tracked to two areas of disturbed ground, a court has heard.

Prosecutors allege that the vehicle, belonging to terrierman Nathan Parry, was traced to both sites and the South Herefordshire Hunt’s kennels in 2016, after anti-bloodsport investigators attached a magnetic tracking device to his vehicle.

The 40-year-old is standing trial on animal cruelty charges at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court alongside the hunt’s Master of Hounds, Paul Oliver, and kennel maid Hannah Rose.

Giving evidence on the second day of the trial, hunt saboteur Karl Garside, a member of the Hunt Investigation Team (HIT), said he had helped to place covert cameras at the kennels in May 2016.

The witness, who was shielded from the dock and the public gallery by a screen, told the court the investigation started in March 2016 when a tracker was attached to Parry’s Land Rover at his home under the cover of darkness.

Mr Garside said the tracker indicated that the vehicle attended land near the Mynde estate in Herefordshire at 9.47am on May 14 2016 and arrived at the hunt’s kennels at 1.18pm.

Hannah Rose and Paul Oliver outside Birmingham Magistrates' Court
Hannah Rose and Paul Oliver outside Birmingham Magistrates’ Court (Matthew Cooper/PA)

Telling the court he had then attended the first site, where foxes are alleged to have been dug out, Mr Garside said: “We found a rural location, a wooded area backing on to fields.

“At the location that the tracker indicated, we found an old badger sett with four of five entrances. We knew foxes inhabited it because we could smell them and we found (poultry and pheasant) carcasses scattered around.

“There was a small area on top of the sett where the earth had been freshly disturbed and levelled.”

Mr Garside visited the hunt’s premises later and filmed a fox cub being held in a cage, the court heard.

On May 15 the tracker indicated that Parry’s Land Rover arrived at 3.19pm on land where a fox is alleged to have been “dug out” in Pencoyd, Herefordshire.

Tracker data presented in court showed that the vehicle left the second site at 4.34pm and arrived at the kennels 10 minutes later.

On the second day of the trial, the district judge trying the case was shown covert video footage alleged to show Oliver carrying fox cubs at the kennels.

One of the clips showed a live cub being gripped by the scruff of the neck and another showed a dead animal being dumped in a waste bin.

During cross-examination, Mr Garside said HIT had “special friends with special skills” but declined to name an organisation that had helped its members with specialist training.

Parry, of Brynarw estate near Abergavenny, South Wales, denies four charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

Oliver, 40, and Rose, 30, both of Sutton Crosses, near Spalding, Lincolnshire, also deny four counts of animal cruelty.

Two other defendants have pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to fox cubs on dates in May 2016.

The trial continues.