Shooters up and down the country were cautioned to exercise restraint in their dealings with antagonistic anti-fieldsports ?investigators? and ?monitors? after Richard Clarke, former Cambridgeshire area regional chairman of the National Gamekeepers? Organisation (NGO), was fined £250, with £364 costs, at Ely magistrates court, when he was found guilty of assault and of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards a well-known anti-fieldsports campaigner.

The fine related to an incident on 6 January this year, in which the Six Mile Bottom shoot being run by Mr Clarke, was targeted by campaigner Michael Huskisson, from Halesworth, in Suffolk. Huskisson, the founder of an organisation called the Animal Cruelty Investigation Group, was filming the shoot on behalf of the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS). Using tactics adopted in recent years for monitoring legal hunts, Huskisson claimed in court he was filming a legitimate activity from public land. He did so without first having the courtesy of obtaining permission from the shooters and beaters involved, however.

After the hearing concluded, Mr Clarke told the Cambridgeshire Evening News: ?The tactics of these people [antis] are to antagonise people like me and, in this case, I let myself down. The lesson for people organising shoots and hunts is to look the other way and not rise to the bait because it seems the courts are on their side and that they have a right to disrupt our legitimate pursuits.? Huskisson declared he was ?thrilled? with the result.

For the full story, see this week’s 12 October issue.