Chris Packham vows to carry on campaigning despite arson attack on home

Environmentalist Chris Packham said he will “carry on” his activism despite being targeted by arsonists who set fire to a car and burned down the gate to his property.

The eco campaigner and TV presenter caught the masked attackers on CCTV as they drove a vehicle up to the gate of his Hampshire home before setting it alight – causing thousands of pounds in damage.

In a video posted to his Twitter page, the 60-year-old anti-hunting advocate speculated he may have been the target of internet trolls, hunters, or members of organisations which opposed his activism.

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He told his followers this “vicious, cowardly act of vandalism” was the latest in a campaign of harassment over a number of years.

He said finding dead animals tied to his gate had become a “normal occurrence” but the activity had escalated to the point he now feared for his life and the safety of his family.

He said: “On Thursday night, Friday morning at 12.30am, two hooded and masked men drove a vehicle right up to my gate and set it on fire.

“They were fully aware of the CCTV in place, they took great pains to hide themselves.

Environmental campaigner and TV presenter Chris Packham.Environmental campaigner and TV presenter Chris Packham.
Environmental campaigner and TV presenter Chris Packham.

“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 did extensive damage to my property.

“I wonder what happens next. Do they burn the house down, do they beat up my step-daughter, do they cut the break lines on my partner’s car, or do they come for me directly?

“I mean, are they going to kill me at some point? I think it’s a fair question.”

Addressing the arsonists, he told them: “you burned down the wrong gates”, adding: “I cannot let your intimidation sway me from my course.

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“If you think that by burning down those gates I’m suddenly going to become a supporter of unsustainable or illegal shooting, the unwarranted savagery brought upon foxes in our countryside when they are torn to pieces by dogs then you’re wrong.

“I will, of course, just carry on because I have no choice.”

He went on to urge his followers who are members of the National Trust to vote for the banning of trail hunting on their properties and recommended they write to National Park authorities, the Forestry Commission and any “significant landowners” to outlaw the practice.

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 arrest have been made.”

The arson attack came before Mr Packham led a children’s march to Buckingham palace on Saturday to deliver a petition containing more than 100,000 signatures asking the Royal Family to rewild their lands.

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