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Cull operator in Gloucestershire badger cull zone last year speaks out after death threats

By Michael_Yong  |  Posted: May 19, 2014

  • Cull protesters out in the Gloucestershire countryside

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A marksman involved in last year’s badger cull has spoken out for the first time about the levels of intimidation he faced.

Known only as Charlie, the cull operator had spent the initial six-week window and extension in the Gloucestershire cull zone in Newent.

During that time, he claimed he faced death threats regularly and had his vehicle tracked.

Protesters and marksmen clashed regularly during last year’s operation.

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Speaking anonymously because he was worried about threats against his family, Charlie said he never expected such opposition to the badger cull.

He added: “I was the subject of a number of threats. It was all very intimidating, and I feared a few times they would attack me.

“Some of it was unbelievable. They barricaded my hotel and surrounded my car, and started banging on my car’s windows.

“It did make life very tough for all of us. Many of the cages were destroyed, and there were quite a few confrontations.

“At the end of the day, we are just doing our job.

“I will defend their right to peaceful protest, but this was anything but peaceful.”

He said protesters placed tracking devices on his vehicle, and posted his pictures up on Facebook, forcing him to go into hiding.

Last Monday, Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said police was getting frustrated with the lack of prosecution brought against those arrested during the cull.

During a public questioning of senior police officers by Mr Surl, it was revealed there were 150 stop and searches, 39 arrests, and no prosecutions. Officers said this was because many cull operators had pulled out of their witness statements.

Charlie said he had given witness statements in 11 different incidents, but that the police did not have the will to prosecute.

But a spokesman for Gloucestershire Police said: “Police records show that no one person made 11 statements regarding alleged offences during the pilot badger cull in 2013.

“Charges could not have been brought without statements being made, and very few were. Of those, many were withdrawn. We would urge this person to contact the police directly so that we can discuss his concerns, and wish to assure him that this will be in strictest confidence.”

Drew Pratten, from Stop the Cull, said: “I don’t think there were any kind of intimidation.

“There were a few stand offs and a few confrontations, but they were not meant to intimidate or harm.

“I think some of their cars were tracked, but that is because we wanted to know where they are, and it was not to commit a crime.

“I am aware of stand offs, but we did not manage to identify any of them. Most of them were wearing balaclavas.”

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  • groundnut  |  May 20 2014, 5:52PM

    Perhaps it was Charlie who left live ammunition on a public footpath. so what do they do with their guns for security when they park up in a hotel. ? which hotel is it , I would not want to stay there and find a frightened marksman shooting at the ceiling.

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  • chicken_lover  |  May 20 2014, 5:26PM

    Poor ickle gunman he must have been so fwightened of those old ladies

    |   13
  • RippingYarns  |  May 20 2014, 11:41AM

    I was out in the zones last Summer with a group of middle aged people like myself and retirees. It is possible that I inadvertently scared Charlie, my eyesight isn't very good and I wasn't wearing my glasses so I apologise just incase, as I wouldn't have seen him. I can understand that it must be difficult, armed with only a gun, to feel a little intimidated by a bunch of older folk, we don't move fast but the conversations can get a little rowdy. It might not be a bad idea for Charlie to wear reflective clothing and lots of lights, as we did, then I am more likely to see him this year.

    |   24
  • Millie2  |  May 20 2014, 9:54AM

    Charlie's walking around with a shotgun,,,,,,,,,,,and he feels intimidated ???????????????????????? PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Clued-Up  |  May 19 2014, 10:11PM

    So Gloucestershire Police say they 're able to disprove the only checkable claim shooter "Charlie" made about his time in the badger cull zone ... The rest of what "Charlie" said sounds as if it's a lurid fantasy but none of us can are in a position to know whether it is or isn't.

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