32 British activists held after May 1 raids

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2007:
LONDON–More than 700 police officers on
May 1, 2007 raided 29 addresses in 12 British
counties, two addresses in The Netherlands, and
one in Belgium, detaining 15 men and 17
women–all in Britain–on suspicion of
involvement in arsons and vandalism committed in
the name of animal rights.
The dawn raids reportedly seized £100,000
in cash, numerous mobile telephones, computer
equipment, and documents.
The most prominent address raided was the
25-year-old Freshfields Animal Rescue Centre in
Merseyside. Freshfields manager Dave Callender,
47, in March 1996 was sentenced to serve 10
years in prison for conspiring to commit arson.
“A jury at Birmingham crown court heard
he had enough material to make more than 100
incendiary devices,” wrote Guardian crime
correspondent Sandra Laville. “The prosecution
alleged that he was planning a ‘campaign directed
at targets which included cattle farms,
slaughterhouses, meat traders, egg production
farms, and also societies connected with hunting
and other field sports.’

“Callender was also a leader of
demonstrations against fox hunting, hare
coursing, and the Grand National” horse race,”
recalled Laville.
But Callender was not arrested on May 1.
The British animal rights magazine
Arkangel alleged that “50-60 police arrived at
5.30 a.m., smashing their way through the front
doors of the centre and in the process releasing
four dogs,” only two of whom were promptly
Merseyside Police denied that the raid caused any harm.
Ten of the 32 detainees were charged
within days with conspiracy to blackmail,
identified by the Crown Prosecutions Service as
Daniel Amos, 20; Greg Avery, 39; Natasha
Dallamaigne Avery, 38; Stephen Barclay, 50;
Linus Harrison, 21; Gavin Medd-Hall, 44;
Heather Nicholson, 40; Grace Quantock, 19;
Gerrah Selby, 19; and Daniel Wadham, 20.
Accused of blackmail were Dianne
Jamieson, 59, and Suzanne Jaggers, 35.
Nicholson, also known as Heather James,
and Greg Avery, her former husband, were
cofounders of the militant protest group Stop
Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. Natasha Avery is
Greg Avery’s current spouse.
Five other SHAC leaders–one in Britain,
four in the U.S.–in September 2006 drew prison
terms of from three to seven years for
vandalizing Huntingdon Life Sciences property and
uttering threats against staff.
The May 1 police raids came two weeks
after Jasper Copping of the Sunday Telegraph
noted that, “Animal rights extremists are
targeting farmers at a rate of one incident every
nine days, raising fears that they are widening
their scope. The number of incidents could be
higher, it is thought, as not all are reported
to police.”
Copping noted that farmers appeared to
have become the chief targets of vandalism and
sabotage “after police success in curbing attacks
on animal research companies.”
The most recent related conviction came
on April 12, 2007, when Wayne Bunch, 27,
pleaded guilty to two counts of blackmail for
writing threatening letters in 2003 to two
employees of Darley Oaks Farm in Newchurch,
Staffordshire, “in which he warned them to leave
their jobs and threatened to set fire to their
homes,” reported Nicola Woolcock of The Times of
Bunch was arrested, according to
Woolcock, as result of a routine DNA sample
matching up, after he was taken into custody
following an altercation outside a nightclub in
November 2005.

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