Masked men blow up Land Rover in suspected arson attack at Chris Packham’s home

Conservationist Chris Packham has described how two masked men set fire to a car in front of his house which blew up and caused extensive damage to his home.

In what he called a “vicious and cowardly” attack, the presenter and campaigner said that the two men wearing hoodies and masks drove up to the gate of his Hampshire home before setting the Land Rover alight.

The car exploded, destroying his gate and causing thousands of pounds worth of damage, Mr Packham said in a video he posted on Twitter.

He accused the perpetrators of harassment and intimidation, adding that he frequently finds dead birds, foxes and badgers strewn outside his house in New Forest.

“I wonder where it’s going; what happens next?” Mr Packham said in the video. “Are they going to kill me at some point? I think it’s a fair question.”

The BBC presenter alleged that the people who carried out the attack were aware of the surveillance cameras around his house and took care to avoid them.

“On Friday morning, two hoodied and masked men drove a vehicle right up to my gate and set it on fire,” he said. “They were fully aware of the CCTV that was in place. They took great pains to hide themselves.

“The car exploded and was rapidly and efficiently dealt with by Hampshire Fire and Rescue, and the police were in attendance and, as ever, they did a fantastic job. But not before it had caused extensive damage to my property.”

While he praised the police’s response to the attack, Mr Packham questioned why more can’t be done about the abuse he receives online for opposing animal cruelty.

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“Despite working with the police, the law as it stands means that I am unable to take any action against [internet trolls],” he said. “But it is hate crime; there is no ambiguity about that.”

He concluded with a defiant address to the perpetrators: “Whoever you are, you burnt down the wrong gates because if you think that by burning down those gates that I’m suddenly going to become a supporter of unsustainable or illegal shooting or the unwarranted savagery brought on foxes in our countryside when they’re torn to pieces by dogs, then you’re wrong.

“I will of course just carry on. I cannot and will not let your intimidation sway me from my course.”

A Hampshire Police spokesperson said: “We were called out at 12.43am on Friday following reports of criminal damage at a property in Ipley, Marchwood.

“It was reported that a vehicle was on fire outside a property, which had subsequently spread to a surrounding gate and fence.

“Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service attended and extinguished the blaze. No arrests have been made.”

The arson attack came a day before Mr Packham led a children’s march to Buckingham Palace to deliver a petition containing more than 100,000 signatures asking the royal family to rewild their lands.


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