– Gameness til the End
The cache of barbaric cock-fighting spurs seized from Britain’s biggest cock fighting ring: But father and son who kept nearly 500 birds ESCAPE jail
By ANTHONY BOND
PUBLISHED: 17:27 GMT, 18 October 2012 | UPDATED: 08:22 GMT, 19 October 2012
- Cruel Mark Giles snr, 48, and son Mark Giles jnr, 26, ran a massive illegal bird network and owned 484 cocks bred for fighting
- The pair even took their animals to fights across the globe including Brazil, the Philippines and France
- Their standing in the blood sport was so high that Giles snr even featured on the front cover of an Asian cock fighting magazine
- RSPCA inspectors raided their homes and found a staggering 484 birds, including 97 mature fighting cocks and a cock fighting pit
- More than 60 pairs of metal spurs – which are attached to birds’ feet to increase damage that can be inflicted – were found
They were the tools of a father and son’s horrific interest in the bloody and illegal sport of cock fighting.
This sickening stash of metal spurs was found by RSPCA inspectors who raided the homes of Mark Giles snr, 48, and son Mark Giles jnr, 26.
More than 60 pairs of the spurs – which are attached to birds’ feet to increase damage that can be inflicted – were found, together with leg muffs, leg bands, beak muzzles and other blood – splattered veterinary items.
Investigators discovered that the pair ran one of the largest cock fighting rings ever found in Britain. Between them, they owned 484 cocks bred for fighting.
They even took their animals to fights across the globe including Brazil, the Philippines and France.
Their standing in the blood sport was so high that Giles snr even featured on the front cover of an Asian cock fighting magazine.
The duo where eventually caught by RSPCA investigators who secretly filmed them at a cock fight in Northern France – where the blood sport is still legal.
Inspectors then raided their homes in Billingshurst, West Sussex, and found an staggering 484 birds, including 97 mature fighting cocks and a cock fighting pit.
Shockingly, the father and son also had dietary supplements and empty steroid vials used to increase the cocks’ strength and stamina.
Giles Snr and Giles jnr both pleaded guilty to seven charges relating to cock fighting including the keeping of birds for use in fighting, being present at a cockfight and possession of cockfighting paraphernalia.
The pair were banned for life from keeping birds at a hearing at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
Both men, described as farmers, were slapped with a 20 weeks jail sentence suspended for two years.
Giles Snr also pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering under the Animal Welfare Act and was ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work and pay £2,500 costs.
Other counts admitted by Giles jnr included two offences of keeping animals in poor conditions and one of causing unnecessary suffering.
He was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,000 costs.
Chief inspector Mike Butcher, of the RSPCA’s Special Operations Unit, said: ‘Cockfighting was banned almost 180 years ago, in 1835.
‘Yet here we are in 2012 to see two men all but sent to prison for their involvement in a pastime most people thought had been left behind in the dark ages.
‘Cockfighting is described by some as a blood sport, but for any right-minded person there is no glory in watching birds die horrific deaths in the name of sick competition.
‘Mark Giles senior is a man obsessed by cockfighting. The set-up we found at his home and the number of birds being bred was like a cockfighting factory.
‘His travels to parts of the world where cockfighting is still legal, to watch bouts in places as far flung as South America and Asia, only emphasize the scale of his interest.
‘It is such a shame that his son appears to have followed in his father’s misguided footsteps.
‘Hopefully today’s sentences will give them food for thought about whether their involvement in such a worthless form of animal cruelty has really been worth it.’
After the undercover footage was taken the RSPCA and officers from Sussex Police raided Giles Snr’s home on August 25 last year.
They found 238 birds, 62 cock fighting spurs, 36 leg muffs, 18 leg bands, beak muzzles as well as veterinary items and drugs to treat the animals.
Giles senior’s obsession with cockfighting was compounded by scores of cockfighting magazines and albums of photographs taken from cockfights around the world.
A warrant was carried out at the same time at his son’s home where 246 birds were being kept for use in connection with cockfighting.
Other items seized included six cockfighting spurs, 34 leg muffs, 12 pairs of leg bands, four beak muzzles, veterinary items and a cockfighting pit.
Blood from the cockfighting pit and on some of the cockfighting spurs was forensically analysed.
The results proved that the blood had come from several different male cockerels.
This provided the RSPCA with further evidence that cockfighting had taken place in the pit and using the seized spurs.
Both father and son originally claimed they only sold birds abroad in France where cock fighting is legal.
The footage from France was taken in June 2010 after the RSPCA suspected the pair where involved in cock fighting in the UK and abroad.