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Four men sentenced after being found guilty of badger digging in Pembrokeshire

Three men have been jailed and a fourth received a suspended sentence after they were found guilty of badger digging in Pembrokeshire.

Christian Adam Latcham (d.o.b 02/09/1987) of Cymmer Road, Porth, Thomas Young (d.o.b 16/12/1992) of Pen-Y-Caeau Court, Newbridge, Jamie Rush (d.o.b 13/03/1992) of Beacon View, Trefecca, Brecon, and Cyle Jones (d.o.b 09/11/1987) of Cwrt Tarrell, Newgate Street, Brecon, all appeared at Cardiff Crown Court this week (the court sat as a Magistrates Court) to face one offence.

The four men had previously pleaded not guilty to the offence – which came under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 – that on 24 March in 2018 they attempted to kill, injure or take a badger in the area of Clunderwen, Llanddewi Velfrey.

Back in the early part of 2018 BBC Wales conducted an undercover investigation into organised badger digging in Wales to produce a programme called The Secret World of Badger Baiters which was broadcast on 22 May 2018.

The RSPCA special operations unit were subsequently able to view footage obtained by the BBC including footage of the defendants on 24 March. The defendants had previously stated that they were not looking for a badger but were fox hunting.

At the court hearing this week a member of the RSPCA’s special operations unit gave evidence along with the BBC undercover researcher – who was given anonymity.

On Thursday (3 October), the men were all convicted of the offence and sentenced.

Latcham was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison and ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.

Jones was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison and ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.

Rush was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison, disqualified from keeping dogs for life and ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.

Young was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison – suspended for 12 months – and was handed a curfew order for 12 weeks. He was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.

Latcham, Jones and Young are already disqualified from keeping animals for life and this order will continue.

Chief inspector Ian Briggs, from the RSPCA’s special operations unit, said: “We would once again like to thank BBC Wales for their initial work on this case which paved the way for the RSPCA to investigate fully.

“Sadly, people who carry out such activities which inflict pain and suffering on wildlife continue to offend in Wales. This prosecution sends a message that the RSPCA is committed to bringing those who take part in badger baiting and digging to justice.”