In the same week that key shooting organisations have come out in support of Shooting Timess recently launched Campaign for Common Sense, which seeks to educate the police about legal fieldsports, another two shooters have experienced police heavy-handedness.
Retired gamekeeper Kenneth Davis and his son Mark were shooting pigeon on farmland in Gedling, Nottinghamshire, on 19 September. After an hour of shooting, a woman approached us. She abused us verbally, claiming shooting was cruel and threatened to call the police and the RSPCA, Kenneth told Shooting Times.
Twenty minutes later, a police helicopter and seven armed response vehicles arrived at the remote barley field after the woman wrongly claimed to police she had been threatened by two men with firearms. Despite reasoning with the police, we were arrested and taken to Carlton police station, where our fingerprints, DNA and photos were taken. We were then locked in a cell for two hours while the woman was interviewed. She eventually admitted that she had lied and we were released without charge, said Kenneth.
Under section 64 of the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act, the DNA of Kenneth and Mark will now be retained on police records indefi nitely. We feel completely helpless. We are furious about how we were treated and have been told that the woman can only be fined a maximum of £80 for wasting police time, said Mark.
Solicitor Jamie Foster, of Somerset-based firm Clarke Willmott, specialises in defending fieldsports enthusiasts. He told Shooting Times: I sympathise with Mr Davis and his son. I think their case shows how irresponsible some of the anti-shooting community are prepared to be in getting their message across. Mr Foster added there is a case for prosecuting someone who wastes police time. I also think there is a case for naming and shaming the individual involved. After all, she potentially put the lives of both the shooters and the police in danger as a result of her allegation.
The rest of this article appears in 30 September issue of Shooting Times.