Tighten the Net on Animal Abusers
15th August, 2003
by Graham Phoenix
Police experts are
now surfing the internet in their latest bid to round up rings
of animal abusers staging illegal cock-fighting, dog-fighting
and badger-baiting meets.
Just as they have already
succeeded in tracking down paedophiles downloading child
pornography from the internet, they are now combing it for
secret or coded messages being passed between people still
addicted to the outlawed sports. The new moves were revealed
yesterday by Faye Burton, the local wildlife expert and badger
preservationist who is chairman of the Staffordshire rural
policing liaison committee.
"Suspicious websites are
being checked out very carefully ... I am
hoping that internet searches will help to throw up new
information about the activities of the bloodthirsty brutes
who ... abuse and misuse of innocent creatures," she said.
Burton said such practices were still being pursued in some
rural areas of Uttoxeter and other parts of the county and
there was evidence that armed gangs of criminals from
different parts of the country were involved in their
organisation, in addition to local residents who enjoyed the
same obscene satisfaction of betting on the results of wild
and tame animals being pitted against each other.
Burton, who has often helped police to locate illegal rural
activities, including badger-digging, baiting and the staging
of fights involving dogs and cocks, said she was still being
well supported by an ever-widening network of sympathetic
informers in Staffordshire.
Ms Burton won police backing in May for the
launch of a new Wildlife Crimewatch project under which
members of the public are urged to ring Crimestoppers to
report any suspicions of offences being committed against
wildlife or livestock, including the poaching of game birds
and deer and even thefts from rural fish farms.
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