A DOG owner has become the fifth and final member of a gang to receive a custodial sentence for badger baiting in Ryedale.

Shaun Brown was the driver of the Teesside group that started digging up a sett near Hovingham, west of Malton, and put a terrier down it, York Magistrates' Court heard.

Jane Chadwick, prosecuting, said that when police, alerted by a member of the public, arrived, Brown, 36, tried to drive off but crashed and was arrested walking away from the scene with his dog beside him.

A second dog called Brock, which his co-accused put down the sett, was badly injured.

Brown, of Brenda Road, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to digging for badgers, interfering with a badger sett, causing unnecessary suffering to Brock the terrier, careless driving, driving without insurance and without a licence.

District judge Adrian Lower told him he may not have actually helped dig up the sett, or put Brock down it, but he was part of the badger baiting.

“You cannot pretend that you didn’t know what everyone else was going to do when you arrived in North Yorkshire.

“Nearly everyone apart from you and your companions would think that such behaviour is absolutely appalling and involves nothing less than the attempted torture of an animal that cannot properly defend itself against men and a terrier.”

He gave Brown a six-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months on condition he stays out of North Yorkshire and doesn’t associate with any other members of the gang. He was also banned from driving for 12 months, ordered to pay £368.02 towards the costs of treating and caring for the injured Brock, a £115 statutory surcharge and £85 prosecution costs.

Three other men also received six-week suspended prison sentences last month and a fourth man was jailed. All four were from Teesside and were banned from keeping dogs for five years.

The district judge did not give Brown an animal ban. He said Brown’s dog was uninjured and did not appear to have been used for badger baiting, so he could keep it.