A group of seven Yorkshire men have been convicted of illegal badger baiting after a case brought by police officers from Operation Meles, a joint task force established by the police and animal welfare charities to combat badger crime.

Baiting gangs dig out badgers from their setts, hit them with spades to weaken them and then encourage their dogs, usually bull lurchers bred for the purpose, to attack and kill, the bit that gives the baiters the pleasure.


Meanwhile, over in Pakistan the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is fighting the blood-sport of bear-baiting.

In this the bear is not killed but has had its teeth and claws pulled out, rendering it defenceless against the dogs that are trained to attack it, for the pleasure of on-lookers.

WSPA has also recently committed to fund a specialist UK Metropolitan Police team to fight animal trafficking, a major source of revenue for organised criminal gangs, and this is thought to be a first for the charity sector.


The Bristol-based CLIC Sargent charity that helps children with cancer has been hit twice within a week by fuel thieves who drilled into the fuel tanks of their two Volkswagen vans, clearly marked “For Children with Cancer”, draining off a total of £400 worth of fuel and causing over £1,000 worth of damage.

Jeremy Lune, CLIC’s head of trading told the Daily Mail: “The vans are clearly labelled so whoever did this knew they were stealing from a charity that deals with very sick children.” Fuel theft, like metal theft, has increased as prices have soared, with a worrying number of thieves, and those who handle goods they know to be stolen, not caring who gets hurt or even killed in the process.


The Royal Albert Hall management has been warned by the Charities Commission to stop members selling tickets to touts, bringing the venue into disrepute and putting at risk the funding received from the National Lottery, £40 million since 1996.

Members have been selling their debenture-style seats and boxes for major events to touts for ten to fifteen times their face value. One member has set up his own touting company to buy tickets from other members.

As well as censure from the Charities Commission the hall management has come under pressure from MPs to ban the sale of member tickets to touts, a move that would significantly reduce the potential financial value of the tickets and, for some, the financial value of membership.


One name in the New Year’s Honours List was that of Heron International CEO Gerald Ronson, 72, who received a CBE for his considerable work and support for charity.

The honour sparked criticism due to Ronson’s part in a share scam in 1990, for which he was fined £5 million and served six months in prison.

The credibility of the honours system has recently been called into question after a knighthood ill-advisedly awarded to RBS banker Fred Goodwin, on the recommendation of former PM Gordon Brown for services to banking was taken away by the Queen following the damage done by him to the bank, the economy and all the taxpayers who picked up the bill for his mistakes. Goodwin was also ill-advisedly awarded an Honorary Degree from St Andrews University, for what it’s worth.


Social networking sites such as Facebook and others linked to them are making it easy for cyber-bullies, or “trolls” to anonymously attack, mentally hurt and, in some cases, cause the suicide of their victims.

Charity beatbullying recently revealed on a BBC Panorama documentary, Hunting the Internet Bullies, that 28% of 11-16 year olds, the troll’s main targets, have been the victims of on-line bullying.

So far only one troll, Sean Duffy has been caught and convicted under the Malicious Communications Act and served nine weeks of an 18-week prison sentence. Another troll, posing as “Nimrod Seven” but identified by Panorama as Darren Burton from Cardiff, anonymously posted deeply offensive racist comments about a murdered man on Facebook and was merely cautioned by South Wales Police last year.


Age UK has warned that stealthy changes by the government to the welfare system will make it financially viable for those of pensionable age with partners under 60 to live apart from them in order to claim £100 a week in pension benefits.

The changes are not thought to be part of the Coalition’s promise to reward marriage through the tax system.


The Tree of Hope Children’s Charity is looking for people brave enough (daft enough?) to do a fundraising parachute jump.

Three types of jump are available from more than twenty airfields in the UK. The “Accelerated Freefall” is a solo skydive from up to 12,000 feet, the “Tandem Skydive” is from 10,000 feet attached to an instructor, and there is a “Static Line” solo jump from up to 3,000 feet. All training is given and those raising from £350 can get a free jump.


One very different venue for events in York is the Bar Convent, run by a charity and around five minutes walk from the railway station.

The Grade 1 listed Georgian building offers 4 meetings spaces for 10-90, a tiled Victorian entrance hall for receptions and dining, 18 guest-house style bedrooms, 3 en-suite, a tranquil garden area and a licensed cafe offering home-cooked food. Day delegate rates start from £33 and bedrooms from £35.

The Bar Convent is the oldest living convent in England, founded in 1686, and incorporates a museum telling the history.

Tel 01904 464907
[email protected]