Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 17:55 UK

Three accused over dog fighting

Three people accused of being involved in one of Europe's largest dog-fighting syndicates have appeared in court.

The defendants include Claire Parker, 44, of Kexby Lane, Kexby, Lincolnshire, and Mohammed Farooq, 33, of Daniels Road, Bordesley Green, Birmingham.

Ms Parker and Mr Farooq, along with a 17-year-old youth, are alleged to be part of a huge dog fighting ring, Lincoln Magistrates' Court heard.

They deny a variety of charges connected to dog fighting.

They were charged following an investigation by BBC's Panorama programme into links between a dog-fighter and a Northern Ireland gang with paramilitary connections who supplied illegal US pit bull dogs and travelled to fights as far away as Finland.

Banned pit bull

Ms Parker, a mother of three young children, denies being present at a dog-fight, keeping a premises for dog-fighting and possessing three pit bull dogs.

Mr Farooq denies two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and possessing training equipment for dog-fighting.

The youth denies two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, and keeping dog-fighting equipment.

Both he and Mr Farooq admit owning banned a pit bull.

Gary Adamson, 38, of Ramsey Crescent, Yarm, North Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to six charges in connection with illegal dog-fighting when he appeared in court on Monday.

Sentence date

Kenneth King, 35, of Main Street, Ragnall, Newark, Nottinghamshire, admitted eight charges related to fighting banned pit bull terriers during the same hearing.

Owen Batey, 40, of Cannock Road, Middlesbrough, admitted setting two pit bulls on each other and being present at a dog-fight. Earlier, he pleaded guilty to owning a pit bull.

Christopher Burgess, 42, of Longstone Way, Ladybrook, Mansfield, Notts, was told he would probably receive a community sentence during the hearing after he pleaded guilty to one charge of keeping a banned dog.

All four will be sentenced on 25 September.

The trial of Ms Parker, Mr Farooq and the youth continues.



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