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TV naturalist Chris Packham issues defiant message after masked men set fire to car outside his New Forest home

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NATURALIST and broadcaster Chris Packham has issued a defiant message after a suspected arson attack at his New Forest home.

Two masked men drove a vehicle up to the gates of his property just after midnight on Friday and set them alight before fleeing, Mr Packham claimed in a video posted on Twitter.

It caused an "explosion" and extensive damage worth "thousands of pounds," Mr Packham said, adding the culprits avoided detection on CCTV cameras.

The gates to Chris Packham's New Forest home were damaged in the suspected arson attack on Friday night
The gates to Chris Packham's New Forest home were damaged in the suspected arson attack on Friday night

Praising the response of Hampshire police, Mr Packham called it a "vicious and cowardly act".

He said: "At this time all I can say is, whoever you are, you burnt down the wrong gates.

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

"I will of course carry on, I have no choice. I cannot and will not allow your intimidation to sway me from my course. That’s why I really don’t understand why you would do it."

Chris Packham (52116636)
Chris Packham (52116636)

It is not the first time Mr Packham’s property has been targeted.

Previously, dead foxes, badgers and birds have been dumped on his property and in April 2019 he reported receiving a note containing a death threat.

The incidents followed a legal challenge by Wild Justice, a campaign group co-founded by Mr Packham, calling for Natural England to tighten up its policy around shooting licences for 16 species.

This latest attack came the day before he delivered a petition to Buckingham Palace, signed by 100,000 people, appealing to the Royal Family to conserve nature on their estates and reintroduce animals like beavers and wild boar.

In the Twitter video Mr Packham promoted his campaigns against fox hunting and bird shooting and called on supporters to ramp up their lobbying of countryside authorities.

He also expressed concern that attacks against him seemed to be escalating.

"I wonder where it is going," he said.

"I mean what happens next? Do they burn the house down? Beat up my step-daughter? Cut the brake lines on my partner’s car? Or do they come for me directly?

"Are they going to kill me at some point?"

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