Arson attack on Chris Packham’s home as intimidation campaign escalates against him

Just after midnight on Thursday night / Friday morning, in a remote part of the New Forest, two masked men were caught on CCTV driving a Land Rover up to the gates of Chris Packham’s home and setting it alight before escaping in a getaway vehicle.

The Land Rover exploded and the flames spread to the gates and fenceposts, totally destroying them and all the electronics attached to them.

Chris was at home, alone, at the time.

[Footage from Chris’s CCTV showing one of the arsonists exiting the Land Rover and doing his best to avoid the camera]

[Footage of the inferno, caught on CCTV]

[What was left of the burned out wreckage after Hampshire Fire Service had attended the scene]

[The charred gates and electronics]

This is the latest attack in a long-running campaign of intimidation and harassment against my friend & colleague. Previous incidents have included dead crows being hung from his gate, a snared fox being dumped on his drive, a dead badger hung from his gate and excrement and death threats being sent to him in the post.

These events all sit alongside the daily offensive abuse and harassment he receives on social media, probably emboldened by a long-running campaign, led by some particularly vile and high profile individuals in the shooting industry, to have him sacked from the BBC just for speaking out on issues such as raptor persecution, unsustainable shooting and animal abuse.

This arson attack is a clear escalation in threat and is of serious concern.

I would hope that leading figures in the shooting industry will respond with leadership, integrity and decency, and ‘call off’ the thugs before this violence escalates even further.

Below is a video message from Chris:

Media coverage of this latest attack:

Daily Mirror here

BBC news here

Sky News here

Metro here

The Sun here

Express here

The Guardian here

The Times here

Independent here

ITV here

Telegraph here

Scotsman here

UPDATE 14th October 2021: Attack on Chris Packham put into wider context (here)

UPDATE 19th October 2021: With straight faces, shooting org BASC denies encouraging online abuse of Chris Packham, his step-daughter and others (here)

UPDATE 22nd December 2021: Police release CCTV image linked to arson attack at Chris Packham’s home (here)

UPDATE 15th March 2022: Firebomb at Chris Packham’s house – new evidence to be revealed on Crimewatch (here)

UPDATE 16th March 2022: Police describe arson attack at Chris Packham’s home as ‘absolutely terrifying’ & appeal for information (here)

52 thoughts on “Arson attack on Chris Packham’s home as intimidation campaign escalates against him”

  1. Would it help if organisations lobby to get Chris proper police protection? Other far less worthy people get it.

    Or might it make things worse for Chris and put him in more danger? Sarah

    1. This is domestic terrorism pure and simple. It needs to be treated as such by the relevant authorities and questions need to be asked if it is not.

      1. Yes! It is terrorism. Appallingly and cruelly the government has tried/threatened to apply this label to peaceful environmental protesters causing a bit of temporary inconvenience. But pro-hunting stalkers & arsonists who risk causing GBH or manslaughter are left untouched by the British policing and judicial system.

  2. This is a truly shocking attack. However, it really is not a surprise. The violent element of the shooting and hunting industry are out of control. They attack the Sabs that try to protect our wildlife; they attack people who try to protect our badgers.

    It is clear to most of us that the people (mostly men) who take part in activities such as badger baiting, hare coursing, raptor killing, fox hunting, snaring and trapping and any other sadistic activity is likely to be a violent person, period. It’s about time the police force caught up with what is quite frankly very simple psychology. Of course we know that some police officers, judiciary and people in power take part in the persecution of our wildlife and this is a contributing factor of the failure to bring these monstrous people to justice.

    If the bodies that represent the shooting and hunting industry do not start to speak out about the violence and illegal activity, which has been going on for decades, then I deem them guilty by association. It really is a case of: you are either part of the problem or the solution. Your silence will put you sqarely in the problem category.

    Chris Packham is a very clever, compassionate, measured and non-violent man. His response to this recent atrocity is perfect. My response to all you violent soulless people, is to increase my subscription to the NGOs that campaign tirelessly to protect our much cherished wildlife.
    Chris – I’m so sorry. I hope that your amazing strength and resilience has not been reduced by this incident.

    1. Very well said Sue. This is escalating into a “People for animals/ people against animals” war.
      Thank you for being strong Chris, your response is perfect. This is the biggest nail they have hammered into their own coffin so far. I am baffled as to what they thought this act would achieve. Your insurance co. will fit you an even better set of gates, and they will now have to face a million more enemies.
      These clearly weren`t gifted individuals.

    2. Sue,
      Agree and well said.
      From the timing of this incident, I can only concluded that this attack on Chris Packham’s home is just another manifestation of the very vile, violent and evil people who are part of the hunting and shooting fraternity.
      The people who committed this crime, are criminals. It is simple as that, and there is no other way of describing them!.
      This propensity to commit crime is probably reflected in many other aspects of their lives.
      If these people are capable of committing such an appalling act towards another human being, when they know the law will be obliged to conduct a proper investigation. I shudder at the thought of the atrocities they are committing towards wildlife.
      A number of studies have drawn links between the abuse of animals and violence against people. A 2001-2004 study by the Chicago Police Department “revealed a startling propensity for offenders charged with crimes against animals to commit other violent offenses toward human victims.”
      I hope the police catch the culprits and charge them.
      I also hope that some of the investigative journalists out there will read this blog, and start conducting some enquiries into the association that some of these evil people have with the various hunting, shooting and rural organisations. If that association can be proved and then fully exposed in the mainstream media, it would greatly diminish the reputation of those organisations.
      This in turn could truly set public opinion against the terrible way some people treat nature, and may be the catalyst that makes politicians finally realise that they can not go on protecting the vesting interests which cause some people to commit such crimes.
      Thank goodness Chris Packham had substantial gates, and the perpetrators couldn’t get the vehicle closer to his home before they set it ablaze.

      1. I’m fully aware of the links between cruelty to animals and violence against people. Unfortunately those that govern our country don’t join the dots or/and are guilty of animal cruelty.
        Having worked in child protection I know that children who experience or take part in animal cruelty will have damaged minds and it is therefore child abuse. This is rarely considered even though we know that just witnessing domestic violence is damaging.

  3. I am simply horrified, I have met Chris 3 or 4 times and he is ( not that it matters) a great advert for conservation and campaigning for it in our countryside. Yes he and indeed the conservation movement have enemies within hunting, shooting and land management. However as a figurehead for all sorts of campaigns ( I would say admirable campaigns) Chris is and has been subjected to an orchestrated and escalating campaign of abuse and hatred. I can only imagine what that is like and lets be frank a lesser being might have crumbled and faded away from the limelight in face of this onslaught. That Chris doesn’t says a great deal about him and his fortitude. The people orchestrating and carrying out this campaign have essentially either lost the argument or have no answers to the questions these campaigns ask, so they resort to a sort of warfare that cannot in the end win anything except approbrium from most of us, it s nasty but pointless. This latest upscaling to an arson attack means there is nowhere to hide from decency for those orchestrating it, time to stop isn’t it? My heart goes out to Chris ( and I know his two friends and colleagues in WJ get the same harassment) He will stand firm as he says he can do no less it is part of who he is, in a sense we who know him even slightly are standing by his side so the criminals, morons and nasty bastards cannot and will not win. Will those in the CA, BACS and the like condemn this I wonder?

  4. So if BASC (to name one) don’t comment, we’ll all know they support this evil act. It’s way past fence-sitting time.

  5. The attacks on Chris and his property are escalating; It shows that his and your ideas are working and that the Huntin’, shootin’, fishin’ brigade are rattled. Good for Chris to not cave in, but I think some security would help him and you now (even private security).

    1. If those people had access to explosives would they have left them in the car too? If the gate hadn’t been there would the car have been reversed right up to the front door then set alight? If those two clowns have friends/accomplices who know what they did they’ll have to pray they NEVER manage to fall out with them, or that a wee bit of booze doesn’t loosen their tongues down at the pub when the bragging starts. There’s no way anybody getting convicted for this isn’t going to see the inside of a prison, CP was clearly the target, but if friends/family had been staying they would have been at risk too, multiple lives threatened. What a pathetic excuse for members of the human race those gobshites are.

  6. Horrific, but not in the least surprising. Torching vehicles is a tactic commonly used by gangsters to destroy forensic evidence. It is not always 100% successful. It is further smoking-gun verification (for those that need it) that those behind wildlife crime etc. are the lowest form of hoodlums.
    Irrespective of whether you like or dislike Chris there can be no submission to the thugs or their masters. Imagine what sort of uncivilised Britain we would have if these plug-uglies ever managed to get the upper hand.

  7. Just awful :( listened to Chris made me cry , what is wrong with some humans . Do wish thou the BBC news would get information correct

  8. Could WJ start a fund raiser to cover Chris’s expenses to replace his gate etc. If any surplus money left over this could be a donation to WJ. This would be a one in the eye for the thugs.

          1. The only reason I asked is that I was already using justgiving at the time (for another reason) and their search didn’t return a relevant link at the time.

  9. So sad that Chris has to put up with this type of behaviour and damage to property by those who wish to silence him and his drive to improve the environment and biodiversity.
    It makes many of us more determined than ever to support him and the team who work tirelessly to improve the lot of animals and birds in the UK.

  10. Feel so bad for Chris but admire him so much for his continued dignity and dedication. His concerns are entirely valid, too. What a strong fella. I hope it helps to know that Chris has enormous support behind him.

  11. Words fail me. This is domestic terrorism and needs to be treated as such. I hope police will allocate the necessary resources to investigate this hate crime. The countryside organisations need to come out and condemn this intimidation and criminality. Silence is not enough. If there is anything we can do to support Chris then please let us know. Sending him my best wishes.

  12. I am hoping this is “just” the work of a couple of village idiots (no shortage of those) and not some thugs who are being given a lump of cash to conduct a campaign that may well escalate. Either way it needs to be slammed down on by the police or it will be percieved as something that can be done again and again with impunity. Ps I wonder if the ‘boys in the bothy’ will be bringing forth a forensic expert to help with the investigation?

  13. People who will take this kind of action against someone who disagrees with them are a real danger to society in general, as well as the ‘victim’ of the crime. The term ‘Psychopath’ springs to mind. Usually, when I read that someone has suffered verbal or written abuse for their work in Conservation, I give a donation to Wj. Though it nowhere near covers the seriousness of this occasion, I will still do the same. I’m so sorry this has happened to you Chris.

  14. Shocking – that was in effect a car bomb. If it exploded in the centre of a big city, massive police and other resources would be thrown at finding the perpetrators. My thoughts and best wishes go out to Chris.

  15. and the usual high profile members of the ‘country’ sports community and acolytes come out with the “I don’t believe you” line on social media

  16. Shame on those that committed this heinous crime against Chris and the damage to his property; not that my words can really describe my feelings for these thugs and all they stand for; that is what they are, no more, no less.
    It is a hate crime and should be acted upon by those agencies who are paid by public taxes to investigate such crimes and hopefully prosecute the two men and those behind their cowardly attack before they decide to go further with their atrocious acts against Chris and those who support his stances for the natural world. It does make you wonder how far they will go.
    Best wishes Chris. Your your amazing strength and resilience is incredible in the face of such abuse from those cowards who commit these crimes.

  17. Terrorism pure and simple. If it had happened elsewhere or a to ‘sporting’ advocate celebrity then there would almost certainly be MSM coverage big style and politicians wading in for media opportunities.

    As for the advocates and supporters of hunting and shooting, yes they should comment but then again they would only offer up the usual “we do not support …. etc. etc. blah, blah blah” and would realists believe a word they say?

    Someone has already said it, the hunting and shooting advocates and supporters have shot themselves in the foot (if not elsewhere) our job is to make sure that as many of the public are made aware of these terrorist tactics that some elements of society indulge in and support when anyone has the courage and tenacity to stand up to them.

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then … you/we win because they have shown themselves to regard their interests above the law.

    Stay strong Chris, we salute and support you. Take care and stay safe.

  18. The Conservatives back the shooting and hunting community, that corruption is within the House of Commons, The House of Lords, the Judiciary and the Police. What was done is terrorism, and in the this case the British Government is sponsoring terrorism against its own people and on it’s own territory.

  19. Feel furious and frustrated would love to do something to show this brave man that he is admired and supported .I am not on twitter so cant contact him directly hopefully he reads these comments and I can add my small voice of support . You are an unbelievably courageous man , dont let these ignorant bastards get to you, they are a tiny minority and you are an inspiration to millions Chris.

  20. My thoughts and best wishes are with Chris. What can it be like to be on the receiving end of continued horrific abuse and hatred. I salute Chris for his courage in standing up for what is right.

    I am appalled when Chris says that our Law means he is unable to take action against the torrents of relentless abuse he receives from internet hate trolls. This is worrying… What sort of Law is this! Chris should be receiving immediate protection.

    The evil perpetrators would do well do understand that they have lost. Their abhorrent, senseless behaviour only results in me and others increasing our efforts to support Chris and everything he stands for.

    Chris will never give up. Admiration to him for only yesterday leading a procession headed by 100 children to deliver a petition to Buckingham Palace asking the Royals to rewild their land.

    Thank God for people of integrity and commitment like Chris willing to speak out against the ills of this world!
    Time for BASC, the CA and the rest to do some ‘speaking out’ or are they condoning what has happened!?

  21. These people will have guns and gun licenses that we have helped pay for. We have also helped to pay to make sure that they are suitable human beings to own these guns. Who makes these decisions?
    Covert 24/7 security is now the only answer until these bastards are caught. Now that I am happy to pay for!

  22. This was a shocking attack and glad that Chris and family were not harmed. Agree with comments about this being treated as terrorism, these are dangerous people and lots of them are legally allowed to carry guns.

    1. Agreed, but “harm” can extend beyond physical injury!
      Hopefully the enormous outpouring of support for Chris will help him through this trauma.

  23. Good god, Hampshire becomes the Armagh of England as the Provisional xxxxxxx xxxxxxx steps up it’s campaign of intimidation. May be some spycops might infiltrate Lyndhurst Young Conservatives, but then it’d probably turn out that the spy identifies the son or daughter of a local judge who drinks with the superintendent at a local golf club.

  24. My children and I met Chris about 40 years ago when he was at an event teaching children about the wonders of the natural world. He was then hosting the Really Wild Show which was avidly watched in our household. They have never forgotten him. After that they were the kids that carefully removed wasps from the classroom before they (the wasps) got swatted , saved mallard ducklings trapped in road drains or worms drying out on tarmac etc. Although they do not work in conservation, they are passing on their appreciation of the natural world to their own children.

    This is a small part of how Chris has influenced our family and, I’m sure, many others worldwide. This is his heritage and no burned -out Landrovers can ever erase that.

    Behind you 100% Chris and thanks (and Ruth and Mark too).

    1. What a lovely tribute to Chris. I’m sure he will really appreciate that at a time when (even though he is stoical) he must be feeling anxious. I would reiterate: Chris, there are so many people who have been inspired by you and continue to be inspired by your intelligence, passion, commitment and humanity. Keep going, there are so many people and organisations that want to follow in your footsteps.

  25. I’m almost speechless. What vile, horrible thugs who hide behind balaclavas when perpetrating disgusting crimes such as the attack on Chris and his property. Come out and show us your faces…….. Ooh no sorry you’re too low for that! He really must be rattling their cages for this behaviour to reach such high levels. The UK MUST get to grips protecting our protectors of nature. They will never win using violence.

  26. Just to add something positive to this horrendous story, and something I hope will give Chris, Ruth and others some encouragement.
    Last week I was out on the moors near my home, and I saw 2 Red Kite and 8 buzzards all flying over the same area of moor and playing in the thermals and updrafts.
    Bearing in mind I have been living here for over 30 years, and this is the first time I have ever seen so many raptors together. In fact 30 years ago I would never have seen a single bird of prey.
    It shows that all the hard work by Chris, Ruth and others and all the campaigning is having an effect.
    Some land owners are listening and some estates are at last getting the message.
    Public awareness of what is happening to wildlife is also on the increase, and public opinion by many of those who use the outdoors for recreational activities is becoming increasingly intolerant of the uplands being used for intensive driven grouse shooting.
    So, if it is any comfort, the vast majority of the public in this country will be horrified that Chris is a victim of crime and has been targeted because of the valuable work he and others like him are doing to protect wildlife. If it’s a battle of hearts and minds- conservationists are winning; the other side know this, and resorting to crime is all those that are opposed to change have left!!
    As others have commented, this is a massive own goal by those who are opposed to what Chris et al have achieved. Tongues will wag, and fingers will point, and the blame will no doubt fall on those who are desperately clinging onto their barbaric Victorian pastimes.
    Some years back it was traditional for the BBC and other tv news channels to cover the traditional Boxing day Hunts, and we had images of red coated horsemen setting off on their macabre rides. No one wants to see that any more, and the news channels barely cover the story today.
    Hopefully in the not too distant future, the same will happen to other “traditional country” pastimes, and those that wish to engage in such activities will be very much on the margins, knowing that what they do is being watched and scrutinised by an informed and vigilant public.
    So whilst I am sorry and saddened that Chris’s gates have been destroyed, I also want to say “thank you” for the public awareness that he and others like him has achieved in promoting and protecting nature.
    “Thank you” !!

    1. It was far right terrorism and part of a much wider British problem of hate and impunity. There will be no reaction from the industry or from politicians and in that environment these attacks are more likely to continue to escalate. Bird issues do not exist in a vacuum. Any longer term perspective will show that the raptor conflict is far uglier than it was even 20 years ago in line with wider political developments and the idea that the perpretators and the culture they represent will change direction in response to public opinion (such as it is) is not realistic. The ruling party revels in its ‘Tory scum’ label and the shooting culture in its bunker will do exactly the same.

  27. This shameful act was surely too much to stomach, even for the most ardent opponents of Mr Chris Packham’s views!
    The perpetrators, & their supporters, seem to be suffering from a serious dose of chronic inconsequentiality. Their actions demonstrate that it is possible to ‘shoot oneself in the foot’ and ‘burn ones bridges’ at the same time!
    Come on, more reasonable folks amongst the hunting & shooting fraternity, & there must be some of you, surely … turn these sad individuals in and change tack, before you & and your way of life vanish under a tsunami of righteous support for Wild Justice and Mr Packham.
    Anything positive? Well, perhaps there’ll be a WJ funding boost as a consequence of what has happened, similar to the RNLI support boost, which Mr Nigel Farage’s views on Channel migrant rescues prompted!
    If, hopefully when, blood sports are entirely banned, you will only have yourselves and the actions of such sad, easily manipulated, young puppets to blame.
    Meantime, all reasonable human beings, those with an ounce of decency, should send a message of support to Mr Packham and all his family members.
    We can’t all apologise for the violent actions of others, but most of us can, at least, show some compassion towards those impacted by such actions. Mr Packham is a remarkably tolerant & talented individual, who deserves better!

    1. Sarcasm alert.
      A graphology expert from certain circles will be submitting their ‘evidence’ that Chris Packham staged this event for his own publicity.
      Sarcasm off.

      I’m expecting that

      (a) Mr. Packham has a relevant home insurance policy
      (b) he has a crime reference from the police
      (c) with that, his insurers will cover/reimburse the cost of the damage (and any costs will be recovered from anyone subsequently be found to be related to the crime).

      That’s ‘crowd sourcing’. Even if the criminals do not get caught, the costs of their acions will visit them in some small manner.

      Auctioning the charred gates could be a fund raiser? There again, insurers can be ‘personal’ about reclamation of damaged goods.

  28. Well i guess we have all been deafened by the wall of silence from all of the more significant anti-conservation organisations.

    Listening in to the chat on social media, the conversations veer between “wild conspiricy theories/its a lie” and “haha, thats what he deserved, allegedly”.

    There is no hope of any moral leadership or remorse, they dont want any high ground (they have none), they continue to opperate in the dark shadow world of nods, winks and criminal behaviour.

    But NE still give them a seat at the table?

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