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Thread: Am I a criminal?

  1. #1

    Default Am I a criminal?

    Whilst out caching at the weekend I was asked by a 'birder' what I was looking for in a hedgerow. He spotted me some way off as he was in a hide. Didn't spot the muggle else I'd have walked on.

    The hedgerow in question was along a defined bridleway. When I explained about geocaching he advised me that looking, poking around in hedgerows is an illegal activity and is liable to a fine of a minium 1000. What is more I was disturbing nesting birds and should stop my activity and clear orf. He had called the police.

    It's not as if we were pulling the hedge apart. As it was autumn you could see in the hedge and we certainly weren't pulling it or destroying it to find the cache.

    Once I softened his agressive approach and talked to him he was a sort of pleasant gentleman. I believe as the cache was only posted in June it was a case of NIMBY'ism. The cache had been muggled.

    I'm not sure under what law I would be prosecuted does anyone know? Crimnal damage? I guess that knocks on the head years of picking fuirt from hedgerows. Or would that be theft.

    Police never turned up all bluff and bluster. We went on our way to the next cache after saying goodbye and on good terms.
    Ho hum!

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    49

    Default

    Hedgerows are protected by the Hedgerows Regulations 1997.

    Under the regulations, it is against the law to remove or destroy certain hedgerows without permission from the local planning authority.

    Permission is required before removing hedges that are at least 20 metres in length, over 30 years old and contain certain species of plant.

    The local planning authority will asses the importance of the hedgerow using criteria set out in the regulations.

    Hedgerows in areas covered by a Historic Landscape Characterisation are often protected on the basis of historic importance and their wildlife value.

    A summary of the law is contained in the Defra leaflet Hedgerow Regulations: Your Question Answered. More detailed guidance is contained in The Hedgerows Regulations 1997: A Guide to the Law and Good Practice. You can request a copy of these, free of charge, by emailing farmland.conservation@defra.gsi.gov.uk.



    There appears to be no specific provision for damaging a hedgerow per se, so the twit(cher) was probably talking out of thier bottom!

  3. #3

    Default

    Made me chuckle to myself to arrive at the cache I'd stumbled through farmers tractor wheel ruts, cut up bridleways from horse riders and the hedges have been cut, sorry thrashed, to within a 1mm of their life by mechanical strimmer type thing.

    Oh and there was me looking in a hedge
    Ho hum!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    Land of the Bear and Ragged Staff!
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    What is more I was disturbing nesting birds
    At this time of year?
    Not a very good birdwatcher!

    Next time, say that you are checking the plant life/insect life in the hedge, or counting the number of plant species in the hedge to determine its age...
    (So many species in a certain length = 100 years of age for a hedge)

    edit to add
    A possible cause for complaint, if its a hide, is the cache is placed in the area viewed by users of the hide, thus you scare off any birds being watched...
    Last edited by Bear and Ragged; 17th November 2008 at 01:31 PM. Reason: added a bit more!
    I have a Geocaching problem...
    Work gets in the way!

    * Cache Walker -Caching by byway, not highway! CacheWalker.co.uk
    Walking and Caching in Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire areas

  5. #5

    Default

    I think the hide was one of those tent jobbies you assemble on the hoof so to speak.
    Ho hum!

  6. #6

    Join Date
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    If looking in the hedgerow is a criminal act then we'd all better leave the country double quick! What a nutcase. Well done for keeping your cool.

  7. #7

    Join Date
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bear and Ragged View Post
    Next time, say that you are checking the plant life/insect life in the hedge, or counting the number of plant species in the hedge to determine its age...
    (So many species in a certain length = 100 years of age for a hedge)
    Or, use the 'tried and tested', "I'm just looking for my dog's ball - I'm sure it went in here somewhere..."

    Of course this excuse falls flat if you don't actually have a dog with you (bad planning on your part ), in which case you should at least be carrying a dog lead with you and when further questioning ensues you follow up with, "Oh, he's a border collie, he went that way..." <Pause for broad arm gesture encompassing the distant horizon>
    Last edited by Mrs Blorenge; 17th November 2008 at 03:58 PM.

  8. #8

    Default

    [quote=Mrs Blorenge;24617]
    Quote Originally Posted by Bear and Ragged View Post

    Of course this excuse falls flat if you don't actually have a dog with you (bad planning on your part ), in which case you should at least be carrying a dog lead with you and when further questioning ensues you follow up with, "Oh, he's a border collie, he went that way..." <Pause for broad arm gesture encompassing the distant horizon>

    Sounds like a case of Geodogging..
    Idea taken from another "sport" using a non existent pooch as a prop!!

  9. #9

    Default

    Ahhh, the dog's ball I like that one.

    How about 'I'm looking for my wife, I know I buried her here somewhere'

    Think they'll buy it?

    Ho hum!

  10. #10
    sTeamTraen Guest

    Default

    My favourite excuse, especially when asked how come my car is there on the very rare occasions when I've driven past the "authorised vehicles only" sign *whistles nonchalantly* is that I lost my phone while out on a walk yesterday and I'm revisiting likely spots and it's probably here because I remember bending down to re-tie my boots round about here and sometimes the phone falls out of my pocket and I haven't got too much time to do the whole walk again (obviously, I try not to sound as much like Vicky Pollard when I tell it).

    It helps to not have your phone in said pocket at the time , and to be practised at palming it so as to "find" it a couple of minutes later. Bonus points are awarded if the phone is damp and or muddy (sweeping it through wet leaves as you "find" it helps).

    My caching buddy WarCat drives his Freelander down every forest track in Europe; we're working on a 150cm-long official-looking sticker with 12-star flag (hey, it's in the public domain) saying "European Forestry Protection Service" in 3 languages to put on the doors.

  11. #11
    Icenians Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Blorenge View Post
    in which case you should at least be carrying a dog lead with you and when further questioning ensues you follow up with, "Oh, he's a border collie, he went that way..." <Pause for broad arm gesture encompassing the distant horizon>
    :lol: I now have this mental picture of a park full of helpers searching for a non existant dog :lol:

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Icenians View Post
    :lol: I now have this mental picture of a park full of helpers searching for a non existant dog :lol:
    You've got it.

    Or, hopefully, you will have, by then...

  13. #13

    Default

    My understanding is there is a common law right to take things from hedges (the wonders of a non-written constitution - any lawyers out there). I have a vague memory that this is called Hodge-Podge, and gave rise to the saying as meals made this way would contain all sorts of different things.

    I may be wide of the mark but it sounds good.

  14. #14
    Team Sieni Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Blorenge View Post
    Of course this excuse falls flat if you don't actually have a dog with you (bad planning on your part ), in which case you should at least be carrying a dog lead with you and when further questioning ensues you follow up with, "Oh, he's a border collie, he went that way..." <Pause for broad arm gesture encompassing the distant horizon>
    You do realise it is illegal to let a non-existent dog run free. They should be kept on a lead at all times, otherwise they may worry the unicorns.

  15. #15

    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by rufty tufty boys View Post
    My understanding is there is a common law right to take things from hedges (the wonders of a non-written constitution - any lawyers out there). I have a vague memory that this is called Hodge-Podge, and gave rise to the saying as meals made this way would contain all sorts of different things.

    I may be wide of the mark but it sounds good.
    Sounds convincing to me. At least, more convincing than the notion that looking at hedgerows is a criminal offence!

    Although judging from the recent Forestry Commission moves to stop people gathering firewood (in case they fall over and hurt themselves), it may be that we're soon to be banned from inspecting hedges, just in case we trip over while distracted by a hawthorn berry.

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