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Hunt saboteur arrested for possession of a knife

A saboteur from a group praised by MPs and anti-shooting campaigners was arrested for possession of a knife and faces a potential prison sentence if convicted.

As previously reported by Shooting Times, hunt saboteurs disrupted a series of grouse shoots across the north of England on and around the 12th of August. Among the shoot days disrupted was a shoot in the Peak District where former England cricketer and keen game shot Ian Botham was enjoying a day. The saboteurs were keen to use Botham’s profile to attract attention to their trespassing and tweets featuring images of the cricketer heading off the moors were shared on social media.

Among those sharing the news with approving comments were actor Peter Egan, children’s TV presenter Chris Packham and former Labour MP Chris Williamson. Mr Williamson, who since losing his seat in 2019 is “now focusing on building a grassroots, anti-imperialist working class movement,” was particularly fulsome in his praise saying they had done “great work” and describing the 12th of August as “when wealthy toffs and flunkies like Ian Botham get some perverted pleasure from killing and maiming wildlife.”

Bladed article

However, it has subsequently emerged that a member of one of the saboteur teams was arrested for possession of a ‘bladed article’ believed to be a knife. Possession of a knife in a public place without lawful authority or good reason is punishable by up to four years in prison.

In response to an enquiry from Shooting Times, South Yorkshire Police issued the following statement: “Officers were called shortly before 9.30am on Tuesday 16 August to reports of a protest near to Winscar Reservoir in Barnsley. Vehicles were stopped from leaving the location for a period of time. The protest group later dispersed. A man in his 50s was arrested for possession of a bladed article. He remains under investigation.”

Detailed investigations by Shooting Times have been unable to assess exactly how many shoots were sabotaged during the opening week. This is due to the tendency of multiple hunt saboteur groups to report the same actions often with vague or confusing details about where the shoot was taking place. However it seems five or six shoots were successfully disrupted in the first week of the grouse season.