Sunday 18 March 2018

Three men arrested in illegal cock-fighting investigation

Roosters duel during a break in an Afghan cock-fighting tournament in Kabul
Roosters duel during a break in an Afghan cock-fighting tournament in Kabul

Tom Pugh

Three men have been arrested after up to 170 live birds were found by police who uncovered alleged evidence of illegal cock-fighting and animal cruelty at a farm.

A number of dead cockerels with their combs removed were also discovered during the raid in Iwade, Kent, yesterday morning.

Kent Police said that removing the combs of birds is believed to be a common practice when breeding them for fighting.

Some of the dead birds were found hidden in the boots of vehicles believed to have been stolen. The remains of a dead horse was also found near a barn during "several grim discoveries", police said.

In addition, a suspected fighting ring, known as a cockpit, was found along with paraphernalia linked to training birds for fighting, and veterinary drugs.

Around 100 wraps of a suspected Class A drug were seized and sent off for analysis during the raid, which was executed under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

A number of dogs were discovered on the site, in Raspberry Hill Lane, several of which were believed to have been stolen. Police said efforts were now being made to re-home them, with the help of the RSPCA.

Detective Sergeant Pat Holmes, of Kent Police, said: "Officers carrying out a drugs warrant made several grim discoveries at a farm in Iwade yesterday morning.

"While a significant haul of drugs was discovered, as well as a sizeable quantity of cash, countless dead birds were found on the site, suspected to have been involved in illegal cock-fighting.

"Officers also uncovered a barn fully-stocked with live birds, which at this stage are believed to have been bred for fighting.

"Kent Police will work with the RSPCA to investigate further and also determine whether dogs and other animals found on the site are stolen or have been subjected to animal cruelty."

Two men, a 47-year-old from Teynham and a 20-year-old from Swanley, were arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty, proceeds of crime, possession with intent to supply and a series of theft offences.

A third, a 21-year-old man from Upchurch, was held on suspicion of supplying a controlled drug. All three men have been bailed to April 9, pending further inquiries.

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