Guilty verdict in dog-fighting trial after BBC Panorama investigation
Three people have been found guilty of involvement in one of Europe's largest dog-fighting syndicates which was uncovered by a Panorama investigation.
Claire Parker, 44, of Kexby Lane, Kexby, Lincolnshire was convicted alongside Mohammed Farooq, 33, of Daniels Road, Bordesley Green, Birmingham. A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was also convicted at Lincoln Magistrates' Court.
In Dogfighting Undercover our undercover reporter, 'Steve' helped expose the trio's involvement in a syndicate that spanned the country. He shed light on how the syndicate was involved with a gang in Northern Ireland which had paramilitary links and supplied the illegal US pitballs. The film was broadcast in August 2007.
Four others pleaded guilty to charges connected to the case.
Gary Adamson, 38, of Ramsey Crescent, Yarm, North Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to
six charges in connection with illegal dog-fighting last week.
Kenneth King, 35, of Main Street, Ragnall, Newark, Nottinghamshire, admitted
eight charges related to fighting banned pit bull terriers during the same
Owen Batey, 40, of Cannock Road, Middlesbrough, admitted setting two pit bulls
on each other, being present at a dog-fight and owning a pit bull.
Christopher Burgess, 42, of Longstone Way, Ladybrook, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, was told he would probably receive a community sentence during the same hearing after he pleaded guilty to one charge of keeping a banned dog.
The RSPCA, who were prosecuting, welcomed the verdict.
Chief inspector Ian Briggs, from the RSPCA's special operations unit, said: "Dog-fighting is a barbaric and cruel so-called sport which belongs in the Dark Ages and horrific suffering is caused to the dogs involved.
"Those that continue to pursue this activity should understand that the RSPCA and the police will continue to bring those responsible before the courts."
All seven will be sentenced on September 25 when we will revisit the story on the Panorama blog with clips from the original film.