Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey

Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey news
Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey news

REMINDER: Tomorrow, Saturday, there will be an open afternoon at Hamsey Church from 2pm.

CHURCH SERVICES: Sunday, at St Peter’s Church, 8am Holy Communion, 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am Parish Communion followed by coffee in the hall.

MY COUSIN RACHEL: I wonder if any locals who were present when filming took place in Offham and around Hamsey Church, have been to see the film yet which was released on June 9. There have been several short clips on television recently. It will be lovely to see shots of Offham and Hamsey.

POULTRY CONCERNS: According to an article in my British Farmer there is growing concern over poultry farm break-ins. The NFU hosted a summit of poultry industry leaders to discuss the problem of farmers being targeted by animal rights protestors. Last year the National Pig Association (NPA) spent a third of its time dealing with the aftermath of animal rights activists breaking into members farms. Reporting each and every incident to the police is the only way to tackle the problem on a national scale. Many poultry members have suffered at the hands of these activists who go onto their farms at night and gain access to chicken sheds. The activists then take pictures or videos of the birds and then, some time later, they release the footage. Often members do not know the break-in has happened until the media gets in touch with them. NPA Chief Executive told the meeting, ‘It’s the worst feeling in the world. Not only do you feel like you have been burgled, but you feel like there are people out there who are trying to discredit you.’ There are also concerns about bio security. The poultry industry has had bio security ramped up at all of its units in the wake of the avian influenza outbreak and the idea of having unknown people in the units is worrying. Not only is it unlikely that any of these people will be wearing protective clothing, using foot dips and ensuring they are free from disease, they may also be going from one unit to another, increasing the likelihood of infection spreading. Poultry members said that people had dismantled their ventilation systems to get access to the chicken sheds after trying to gain access for three nights. Fencing had been cut through and mesh fixed across ventilation ducts had been kicked in. Activists tend to go to farms during the night precisely because there are no people around, so they cannot be accused of aggravated trespass which is a criminal offence. The regional liaison officer for the West Midlands said there has been an increase in this type of activity since 2016. He advised farmers not to try and reason with extremists, but to have a robust plan in place to deal with the issue, if it arises. Apparently it is not a criminal offence for someone to be on your farms, or in your poultry sheds filming your birds. This is trespass, which is a civil wrong. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such crime as breaking and entering in the UK. There can be criminal damage, if they beak something to get in, but the liaison officer said that activists do not turn up equipped to avoid aggravated burglary charges, however, they often use tools they find lying about on farms. Farmers can sue for defamation or causing loss by unlawful means in the civil courts, but they need to know what they want to get out of it at the outset as activists are unlikely to have much money.

Looking out today to see all the wonderful splashes of colour from various flowers, all the trees in leaf and the birds singing with unbroken sunshine I think what a wonderful world, but then after reading the above I think what a cruel world also. A lesson for us all to make sure that everything is secure and locked up. How lucky we all are to live in beautiful Sussex.

BUTTERFLIES: Following a disastrous 2016, Butterfly Conservation says the rare health fritillary now faces extinction and the grizzled skipper and white admiral are in trouble.

DOG MESS: I am always reading about the problem, in Cooksbridge and around the parish, of dog mess and have just read about Thanet District Council in Kent who created a database of dog DNA to crack down on mess and reduce the amount spent on clear ups.

HEDGEHOGS: I had a very excited relation on the phone recently to tell me that they had a hedgehog in their garden and were putting out bread and milk for it in the evening. I quickly told them to stop at once as these charming little creatures are lactose intolerant, and people who think otherwise are hampering conservation efforts. There has been a sharp decline in hedgehogs and we need to do all that we can to increase their numbers. Please don’t feed the bread and milk.

YOUNG FARMERS: I have recently written about he Young Farmers groups around the country and can now give more information about the Sussex Federation of Young Farmers that covers East and West Sussex, with 200 members and nine clubs. Sussex YF are raising money for charity, entering competitions, stock judging, attending and helping at events and running social events. They are constantly working to increase membership numbers and hold events throughout the year, including an annual clay shoot on Saturday July 22. The county summer ball is being held at Wellshurst Golf Club on Saturday July 8. Members of Sussex Young Farmers are involved in county and nation level. One member of Ringmer and Lewes YFC made it to the final of the National Stockman of the Year held at Harper Adams University. The Sussex YFC headquarters is based at Plumpton College. The county chairwoman, Eleanor Smale, is in her first year of this role. Eleanor has been a Young Farmer for four years, since joining Forest Row Young Farmers aged 17. She works closely with her county vice chairwomen, Kat Henderson, and Isabel Barr. Kat is secretary of Lindfield YFC and has been a member for 17 years after joining Oathall YFC when she was just 10 years old. Isabel is a member of Ringmer and Lewes YFC and has been a member for 12 years. The president of Sussex YFC is Jeff Trunkfield who has been a member since 1964.

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