Published: 16:30, 25 September 2020
| Updated: 16:43, 25 September 2020
A man shared messages boasting about taking part in "a bit of sport" with friends after setting dogs on wild animals.
Messages sent by the 24-year-old on Whatsapp also alluded to instances where dogs were set on foxes.
RSPCA officer Pippa Boyd said: “After investigating another individual for wildlife offences in East Anglia we found a Whatsapp chat that appeared to be a large hunting group. There were a number of messages in the group from Harry Noble.
“A warrant was executed at Noble’s address in March 2019 and his phone was seized.
"Messages revealed comments, photos and videos related to offences against badgers and foxes.
"He also recorded voice notes and posted messages about his friends who he went out with for ‘a bit of a sport’ with their dogs.
“In some of the videos, dogs can be seen setting upon a badger. The conversation also relates to setting the dogs on foxes and hares.”
Noble was found to have been accompanied on at least one occasion by friends Matthew McWilliam and Jethro Smith.
The discovery of the messages prompted searches of three properties in Ashford, Maidstone and New Romney last October, as well as the seizure of four dogs.
Noble pleaded guilty to three wildlife offences, including two charges of wilfully killing, injuring or taking a badger in October 2018.
And at a hearing at Folkestone Magistrates' Court yesterday, he was jailed for four months and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs. He was also disqualified from keeping dogs for life.
Sgt Darren Walshaw said: “These individuals' actions were not only criminal but barbaric and cruel.
“We are committed to working with the RSPCA to send a message to those participating in illegal blood sports that their actions will not be tolerated.”
McWilliam, from Spitalfield Lane in New Romney, was sentenced to a total of four months.
The 26-year-old was also deprived of dogs Poppy, Tia and Ollie, who will be rehomed by the RSPCA.
This came after he pleaded guilty to eight animal welfare charges, including causing a fight to take place between a dog and fox near his home, between October 2018 and April 2019.
Smith, 25, was sentenced to four months in prison and was deprived of his dog, Biscuit.
Among the four offences Smith, from Plantation Close in Hothfield, pleaded guilty to, was a charge of hunting a fox and a badger with a dog last October.
Both McWilliam and Smith were banned from ever owning an animal and ordered to pay a total of £6,450.