“The victim was a lone female beater who had become isolated from the rest of the shoot. She was confronted by two people wearing camouflage clothing and balaclavas. As she attempted to escape she was forced to the ground, restrained, then kicked. She was verbally abused with one of the assailants shouting ‘murdering bitch’,” Lancashire police’s wildlife crime officer, PC Duncan Thomas, told ST. He added: “The assailants are believed to be male and female and have been described by two witnesses as distinctively different in height. The attack is suspected to have occurred after some form of recce was disturbed. Please be especially vigilant leading up to the end of the season and cast your minds back… have any members of your shoot seen anyone acting suspiciously or monitoring shoot activities and answering this description?”

The beater, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Shooting Times: “It was absolutely terrifying. They pushed me to the ground and kicked me in the back. I was so frightened that I lay on the floor and just let them get on with it, there was nothing I could do. You think it is not going to happen to you. My advice is never to be on your own during a shoot.”

Charlotte Fiander, spokesperson for the Countryside Alliance (CA), said the attack was shocking but unsurprising: “Animal rights extremists are increasingly frustrated as the shooting community continues to operate in a way they deem unacceptable, and they are sadly willing to do almost anything in order to push their misguided messages across.” She added: “The most important message the shooting community can send to anti-shoot extremists is a demonstration of our determination to protect our sport and the livelihoods of those who work within it, and for us to ensure that any incidents involving saboteurs are dealt with as safely and quickly as possible.”

Any person who may have any information indicating the identities of the persons responsible for this attack should ring Lancashire Police on 01254 884800 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The rest of this article appears in 17 January issue of Shooting Times.

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