Bill Worthington, a 75-year-old retired civil servant, from Bedbury, Cheshire, last week pleaded guilty to causing a grey squirrel “unnecessary suffering”.

On 17 January, Stockport Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Worthington, known locally as “the verminator”, trapped the squirrel and shot it twice at point-blank range with a .22. He assumed it was dead, and went out shopping. On discovering it was still alive when he returned, he shot it a further three times.

RSPCA officers turned up after a tip-off from a neighbour and took the squirrel, which was still alive but “unresponsive”, to a vet to be put down.

Jamie Foster, a solicitor-advocate specialising in animal welfare and fieldsports law, told Shooting Times: “This is yet another example of the RSPCA’s complete lack of perspective in relation to prosecutions. It cannot be said that taking a 75-year-old man to court for attempting to kill a squirrel that he had trapped is in the public interest. It is a waste of court time and public money.

The rest of this article appears in the 23rd January issue of Shooting Times.

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