SEVERAL men who took part in and facilitated cockfighting have been found guilty of animal welfare offences.
The five men and a 16-year-old boy were charged after being found at a raid on a cockfighting ring in east London.
The group included Altaf Hussain of Parkstone Road, Coventry in the West Midlands.
They all appeared at Romford Magistrates’ Courtcharged with a breach of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The court heard the men were present at an animal fight involving cockerels in Ilford on January 2 this year.
All six denied the offence and they faced a three-day trial before being found guilty on Wednesday (November 15).
Mohammed Asab, from Essex also pleaded not guilty to five additional animal welfare offences.
These included causing an animal fight, taking part in an animal fight, keeping/training animals for use in connection with an animal fight, keeping a premises for use for an animal fight, and causing unnecessary suffering to a cockerel.
He was found guilty of four offences and a fifth – taking part in an animal fight – was withdrawn.
RSPCA inspector Cliff Harrison, who led the investigation, said: “The RSPCA and police received reports of a cockfight taking place in an outbuilding in Ilford on 2 January this year. When officers attended, seven men were found in the outbuilding and a bird was spotted flapping around inside.
“Officers also saw someone put something into a cat carrier and, when later searched, an injured cockerel was found inside.
“An artificial grass square was being used as the cock fighting pit and seats had been arranged around the edge like a viewing area.”
A blood-stained towel was also found at the scene and other cockerels – aseel or asil types which originate from India and Pakistan – were also present at the premises.
A number of items were seized from the property, including a mobile phone which featured lots of photos and videos.
Inspector Harrison added: “We discovered vital evidence on one of the mobile phones which included videos of cocks fighting a stooge bird, a presentation of a ‘champion’ trophy at a meet as well as introductions to some of the breeding hens.”
Ten cockerels and two hens were seized by police and placed into RSPCA care.
The youth was handed an 18-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £180 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
The other men have been adjourned to appear back at the same court on December 7 for sentencing.