It’s a fox, honest gov’ – Three sentenced for taking a badger


Bodger (left) and badger (right) (Tumbler)

A bit of an unusual one at first glance, three men were convicted of offences under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. The Act states:

1Taking, injuring or killing badgers.

(1)A person is guilty of an offence if, except as permitted by or under this Act, he wilfully kills, injures or takes, or attempts to kill, injure or take, a badger.

The three men, Shaun Dixon, 25, Anthony Dowell, 24, and Nathan Moorhead, 18, were seen putting live badger in the back of a van.

There is an exception to the offence under section 1(1) where the defendant is able to show that his action – taking the badger in this case – was necessary for the purpose of preventing serious damage to land, crops, poultry or any other form of property. That does not appear to have been an issue here.

The maximum sentence is 6 months and/or a £5,000 fine.

Dixon and Dowell received 140-day sentences, Moorhead received a 60-day sentence (presumably because of his age).


Why are we hearing about this? Well they appealed against their conviction (and sentence it seems). Before two lay magistrates and a Crown Court judge, the three men sought to show that the animal they put into the back of their van was in fact a fox and not a badger. This would have resulted in their convictions being overturned.

The Judge reportedly told the three that he and the two magistrates simply did not believe their story. Their convictions would stand.

Regarding their sentence, the Judge reportedly said that the custodial terms were inappropriate and that they would be sentenced on 19 July at which point they would probably be given community orders.

It is presumed that they were granted bail following their conviction and sentence and so haven’t spent any time in custody.

2 thoughts on “It’s a fox, honest gov’ – Three sentenced for taking a badger

  1. Clive Rees

    Yes these lads are clients of mine. Interestingly there was argument between two experts both in the lower court and on appeal. The defence expert said that it was just about impossible to hold a badger in a net and the only safe way was to grab it by the tail! The prosecution expert said he usually grabbed them by the scruff of the neck! Later the defence expert asked the prosecution expert if he’d ever been bitten holding badgers that way; he replied “Yes. A lot”!
    Clive Rees. Defence solicitor.

  2. Andrew

    The Badgers Act 1992 was the successor to the Badgers Act 1973, which started life as a Private Peer’s Bill, introduced by the late Earl of Arran, better known as one of the promoters of the law to decriminalise homosexual acts in private between adults (21 at the time – but it is the first step which counts).

    I heard him speak in 1974 when he said:

    “I got far more support for my Buggers’ Bill than I did for my Badgers’ Bill. Of course there are not many practising badgers in the House of Lords”.

    Not what we would now call p.c. but it had a student audience in stitches!


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