Sun. Jan 23rd, 2022

Cambridgeshire Police Camp Beagle: ‘Enormous’ police presence at protest cost nearly £50k on one day

Police spent more than £46,000 in one day policing protesters at a controversial Cambridgeshire beagle breeding farm, an FOI has revealed.

The costly operation took place on August 10, when campaigners outside MBR Acres in Wyton, near Huntingdon, claim that two van-loads of dogs were taken from the facility.

‘Camp Beagle’ has attracted national support with its ongoing protests demanding the release of up to 2,000 puppies which are being reared for research at the site owned by US multinational Marshall BioResources.

During the August 10 protest – which CambridgeshireLive covered in a live blog – witnesses counted eight police vans arriving on the scene.

Now a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by one campaigner wanting to know the cost of what they called an “enormous” police presence has calculated that it came to £46,214.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Police said: “Our response to the protests in Wyton has been impartial and proportionate, balancing the right to protest with the right of staff at the site to go about their lawful work.

“We are ensuring a safe environment for protestors to express their views peacefully and staff at the site to do their work, which is protected under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.”

The funding came from existing Constabulary budget, and the figure is an unaudited snapshot of unpublished data sourced from “live” systems, according to the FOI response.

Police said the operation was to ensure those working at MBR Acres could enter and leave the premises safely, and did not confirm that they were there to assist the removal of dogs.

But protesters claimed that the heavy police presence coincided with the first time that staff had tried to remove the beagles in the 40 days since they set up camp.

One local campaigner, who declined to be named, responded to this week’s FOI news, saying: “This is just for one operation from the police at Camp Beagle so I dread to think the total cost so far.

“It costs British taxpayers the best part of £50k to get pups out to be tortured for an American company, it’s absolutely disgusting!”

Veteran animal-rights activist Mel Brown, 61, otherwise known as Mel Broughton, told CambridgeshireLive there were around 10 people at the camp when dozens of police began turning up in the morning.

Protesters, who were joined by others from around the country when they issued a call to action, built a roadblock outside the entrance with cages and placards.

Source: (Cambridge news)