Three cruel Leeds thugs appeared in court after they were caught red-handed badger baiting.
Police caught Matthew Johnson, 26, John Buckley, 24, and Gareth Willams digging out a protected badger sett on private land on the Harewood Estate.
Johnson, of Somerville Drive, Seacroft, was jailed for 10 weeks after the court heard he refused to do unpaid work as he believed he had done no harm to the community.
Buckley, of Tarnside Drive, and Williams, of Mowbray Court, Seacroft, were both given community orders and 200 hours unpaid work after they also pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett.
They were arrested on June 30 last year after their vehicle was reported to police in Wetherby, who operate a ‘Farm Watch’ scheme to combat rural crime.
When officers found the men they were digging out a protected badger sett on private land belonging to the Harewood Estate, close to the A659.
At the time of their arrest the men had dug two deep holes out of the sett and had four dogs with them as well as badger baiting equipment including locator collars fitted with radio transmitters and trapping nets.
It’s believed the men were stopped before any badgers belonging to the sett were harmed.
Insp Paul Dwyer, of Wetherby and Harewood Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This case should serve as a deterrent to anyone who believes it’s acceptable to participate in this criminal and barbaric activity.
“We were able to catch these men red-handed. One was arrested as he stood chest deep in a hole he’d dug out of the sett.”