06
Aug
20

Campaign for Protection of Moorland Communities: who’s involved?

Last October a new pro-grouse shooting group lurched on to the scene in the form of an ‘aggressively chanting’ mob outside a Harrogate theatre. They were there to protest against Chris Packham (who was appearing at the theatre that night), who they claimed, amongst other things, was ‘destroying moorland communities’ and they threatened to enter the theatre and disrupt the event. Local organisers were so concerned they called the police.

These protesters all carried corporate-looking placards embossed with the name of the new group: Campaign for Protection of Moorland Communities (or C4PMC) and they appeared to be led that evening by an individual whose twitter account included some pretty disturbing views (see here for a blog about that night).

This new group had a website (here) and social media accounts and the content might have persuaded some naive readers to think this was a ‘grassroots community group’, purporting to represent ‘downtrodden country folk’ who were being unfairly attacked by some nasty people from the cities who didn’t understand country ways. You know the sort of idiotic rhetoric.

At the time of the website’s launch, the group’s ‘About’ page identified four individuals who were described as “Our People”. Here’s who they were:

Interestingly, the name of the Harrogate protest leader didn’t appear anywhere on the website and his twitter account was deleted shortly after screen grabs of its offensive content were published on this blog.

The four people who were listed as ‘Our People’ were all known, all ‘real’ people, but it wasn’t clear which of them, if any, was writing the articles that appeared on the website or pumping out the group’s propaganda on social media. This content has, over recent months, become progressively nasty and has targeted a number of individuals and organisations in the conservation sector, leading to several of them taking legal advice on topics such as misrepresentation, copyright infringement and harassment. Predictably, the targets have been the RSPB (obvs), the directors of Wild Justice (obvs) and the Revive Coalition (obvs) but then some other, less obvious targets such as a prominent member of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and a prominent author and TV producer.

Some of us got the impression, given the style of C4PMC’s output, that none of these four were directly involved with producing C4PMC propaganda at all, but were perhaps just being used as a convenient front to maintain the illusion of this group being a ‘grassroots community group’ rather than an astroturfing outfit for the grouse shooting industry (a bit like, it could be argued, You Forgot the Birds and the Strathbraan Community Collaboration for Waders).

Even more interestingly, in the last few days the names, bios and photos of these four have vanished from the website, as quickly and suddenly as a tagged hen harrier vanishes from a driven grouse moor. The reason for this can only be speculated but it’s not the only weird thing that’s happened in recent days, as you’ll see further below.

The C4PMC’s ‘About’ webpage now looks like this:

So now C4PMC is claiming to be run and managed by editor ‘Jenny Wilson’, whose bio sounds about as convincing as Dominic Cummings’s justification for visiting Barnard Castle.

It’s fascinating that ‘Jenny Wilson’ is portrayed as she is, given that the behaviour and media output of C4PMC in recent weeks has been more akin to something written by a tabloid hack. Or perhaps a former tabloid hack now working for a corporate PR company. You know, a personal, nasty, sensationalist, poorly researched, distorted version of reality designed to grab headlines rather than sensibly inform.

Anywaaaaaaay……..

In early July, C4PMC ramped up the nastiness by publishing an article that included a vile and personal attack on a young RSPB staff member. It’s not going to be re-posted here to save him the anguish. A couple of days ago the RSPB’s Martin Harper wrote a blog about this attack and condemned those involved (see here).

Now, that deeply offensive article wasn’t just written and published by C4PMC. The group went a step further and paid to have it promoted on Facebook, to ensure it was seen by an audience beyond the reach of its own limited following.

C4PMC has paid for a lot of promotional work since the group was established in October 2019…..£3,311 so far, according to these statistics provided by Facebook, which seems a lot of money for a poor, downtrodden grassroots community group to fritter away on self-promotion and attacking those who want to see grouse moor reform, doesn’t it?

But the amount paid for the particularly vicious attack on the young RSPB employee was the highest sum that C4PMC has paid for any of its promotional output to date. According to the Facebook stats, C4PMC paid between £300-399 to promote this particular nasty piece, whereas it’s paid less than £100 for almost all of its other promoted pieces:

Now, when you pay to promote material on Facebook, not only is the amount paid recorded in the public domain, but if that material is categorised as being about ‘social issues, elections or politics’, then the promoter also has to provide contact details which are also then available in the public domain.

And this is where it gets interesting.

Here are the details, posted by Facebook, associated with the promoted piece attacking the RSPB employee:

You’ll note that the phone number has been partially redacted. On Facebook the number is provided in full but a decision has been made not to publish it in full on this blog for what should be obvious reasons.

But that phone number is important, because if it can be linked to a named individual it might provide an insight in to who, exactly, is behind the C4PMC group.

And it appears it can indeed be linked to a named individual. Somebody by the name of Katy Roxburgh, whose mobile number was listed on another Facebook page that promoted a charity event in 2015 at Durham University – the Durham University Charity Fashion Show (DUCFS):

Hmm. So Katy Roxburgh’s mobile phone number was used by whoever paid for the C4PMC’s advert.

So who is Katy Roxburgh then? Is she another gamekeeper’s daughter now living quietly on a small farm in Yorkshire?

Err, not quite.

Katy Roxburgh is an Associate Director at Sabi Strategy Group, a slick corporate communications outfit with offices in Johannesburg, Hong Kong and London.

How do we know this is the ‘right’ Katy Roxburgh? There could be (and are) a number of people in the world with that name.

Well, LinkedIn has helped there. Here’s Katy Roxburgh’s LinkedIn profile page, linking her to the SABI Strategy Group and the University of Durham:

And here’s a bit more detail from her LinkedIn profile page, documenting that this Katy Roxburgh was the Vice President of Durham University Charity Fashion Show in 2015:

According to Companies House, Katy Roxburgh is also a Director of a company called KHK Media Group Ltd, along with two colleagues from the SABI Strategy Group. Note the correspondence address given for Katy Roxburgh, and compare it with the correspondence address given for the C4PMC promotion on Facebook:

Interestingly, the London address for the SABI Strategy Group, up until yesterday, was also given as 49 Princes Place, London, W11 4QA, as shown in this screengrab:

But then this morning the address had been changed on the website to this:

All this sudden change in website content, both for C4PMC and SABI Strategy Group, is very curious, isn’t it?

Now, it should be said quite clearly that there is no evidence whatsoever that Katy Roxburgh is responsible for the disgraceful propaganda being published by C4PMC. Nor is there any evidence that she, personally, is responsible for paying Facebook to promote this tosh. All we can say is that Katy Roxburgh’s mobile phone number and work address were provided to Facebook as the contact details required when paying for a promotional piece.

So really, we’re not that much further forward with finding out who is behind C4PMC. There’s ‘editor Jenny Wilson’, who sounds fictional and until evidence of her existence emerges will continue to be viewed as fictional, and there’s Katy Roxburgh and the SABI Strategy Group and/or KHK Media Group Ltd who appear to be connected to C4PMC to some extent but not conclusively and if they are, it’s not clear what their roles are.

We don’t know who’s bankrolling this outfit. Who’s paying for ‘editor’ Jenny Wilson’s time and expertise? Who’s paying for those corporate placards and banners? Who’s paying for the C4PMC website? Who’s paying thousands of pounds to promote nasty, vindictive attacks on conservationists? Who’s paying to engage a slick London communication company to organise that promotion?

We don’t know. Yet.

But as part of the research undertaken for this particular blog, the following organisation was brought to our attention:

Now THIS is an interesting organisation. Check out the Directors (here) and note the links to the Moorland Association, GWCT and the Royal family, and have a read of the company’s objectives, which can be downloaded here: Moorland Communities Tradition Ltd_ArticlesIncorporation

How very interesting.


50 Responses to “Campaign for Protection of Moorland Communities: who’s involved?”


  1. August 6, 2020 at 11:44 am

    Terrific detective work. Fancy someone going to all that trouble to cover their tracks!.

  2. August 6, 2020 at 11:44 am

    Having read through the Articles of Association of Moorland Communities Tradition Ltd. I see that they list amongst their objectives the conservation and protection of the ‘unique species’ found in upland areas. In pursuit of this they promise to take legal proceedings against any organistaion that might pose a threat to their aims. It seems perverse that the only organisation named is ‘Natural England’ which itself has responsibility for “promoting nature conservation and protecting biodiversity” and “conserving and enhancing the landscape”. Perverse, that is, unless they are hiding their real agenda behind a veil of bland faux claims to be concerned with the conservation and protection of wildlife.

  3. 3 sennen bottalack
    August 6, 2020 at 11:47 am

    Well done, an award for investigative journalism is pending !
    Always nice to see that the driven grouse shooting industry is getting more worried by the day and is willing to stoop to even lower tactics.
    It has always been about money and the capital value of estates.
    The endless persecution of raptors by them is starting to be more widely understood by the general public and was always going to be their downfall.
    They can’t hide who is really involved in these laughable pseudo community groups.
    They are increasingly finding that the moorland communities are getting rather fed up with the bad publicity and lost income caused by poisoned and shot raptors.

    Keep up the pressure !

  4. August 6, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Excellent work..was like reading Private Eye!

  5. 8 Nimby
    August 6, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    Fantastic research and fantastic expose! Keep up your fantastic work, it’s awesome and deserves wider publicity and support:)

    The more the public realise, the angrier the voices will become and the less the linked politicians will be able to advocate on behalf of wildlife slaughter ….

  6. 9 John Keith
    August 6, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    They love to throw the word ‘conservation’ around don’t they?
    Perhaps because it means nothing in their language, they don’t realise that it has real weight in other people’s minds.

    I saw your reference to the Royal family, but don’t see the evidence in the Company filing;
    you won’t have said it casually, can you maybe clarify for me?

    [Ed: Hi John, have a close look at the names of those Directors – google will help if you’re not sure who they all are]

  7. 11 Paul V Irving
    August 6, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    A great piece of investigative research with very interesting results. Do we know as a matter of interest who funds the various Moorland groups, perhaps the MA? I notice that one of the four until very recently fronting C4etc. is co-ordinator of the North Yorkshire Moorland Organisation. If this ( and I think it does) refers to what is correctly called the North York Moors, I can recall a Newcastle based BBC journalist get considerable flack for calling it the North Yorkshire Moors as no such specific place exists.
    Posh blokes and lady pulling strings whilst the ordinary folk under them forelock tug and promote their shite, as it has always been in grouse shooting.

  8. 12 Mike M.
    August 6, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    Well done team and thanks for sharing with the world. The articles are long and very comprehensive, certainly not developed just for a small time flash in the pan organisation. There’s money being spent or favours being called in to produce work of that order so we can expect to see quite a lot more from them.
    Interesting that there’s no hiding and secrecy from the conservation camp but secret and hidden activities on the Grouse Moors and likewise dark deeds going on behind the scenes. Nothing more or less than we have always imagined and expected.

  9. 13 Bimbling
    August 6, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    Ahh the privileged rich mobilize into action to protect the unique species of the moorlands and the livelihoods of the honest serfs working the land.

    Gives one the dry-boak.

  10. 14 Keith Dancey
    August 6, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    Meanwhile, the Head of the Royal family remains Patron of the RSPB!

    • 15 Stephen Lewis
      August 6, 2020 at 7:16 pm

      Yes indeed Keith; a spectacular example of Dracula in charge of the blood bank and just one (of the several) VERY good reason to leave the RSPB.

      • 16 Keith Dancey
        August 7, 2020 at 2:03 pm

        “just one (of the several) VERY good reason to leave the RSPB.”

        Piffle. Although it may serve your purposes to weaken the RSPB.

        • 17 Styephen Lewis
          August 8, 2020 at 7:25 pm

          I’m not out to weaken the RSPB at all Keith, I’m out to make it actually do the right thing RE DGS. Ob the contrary It is the likes of your lot with your licensing ‘piffle’ that weakens the RSPB.

          • 18 Keith Dancey
            August 9, 2020 at 12:10 pm

            Now, you are contradicting yourself. You said leaving the RSPB (and destroying its financial support for all its reserves and research and investigations) was just ONE of *several* VERY GOOD REASONS to leave the RSPB. Now, you claim it is just about Driven Grouse Shooting, and not several reasons at all…

            • 19 Stephen Lewis
              August 9, 2020 at 7:25 pm

              Oh dear, oh dear Keith you are obviously struggling with your English homework these days. Still, school starts soon I believe, but I’ll be charitable and spell it out to you: I was talking about DGS in this instance. Having a fun-killer as a patron is another good reason. Wild Justice have done more in an afternoon RE wildlife crime (and other issues) that the RSPB has in 20 years. There’s three reasons straight off the bat.

              I’m still waiting for your answers to questions that I posed earlier…

  11. 23 Andy Pay
    August 6, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    Brilliant work! I wonder about the extent to which C4PMC’s projects are “funded by local communities” as claimed on their website and how many people in those communities would support the group if they knew exactly what they’re up to.

  12. 24 Frances
    August 6, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    The tactics being used by C4MPC are unlawful and in the nature of harassment. I suggest those who have been the subject of their vile deeds should refer this to the Police. There is clear evidence to support a complaint against them Harassment is defined as conduct likely to cause fear, alarm, or distress.

  13. 25 Spaghnum Morose
    August 6, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    A big well done to all who did the research. Keep going – theres only a connection to the Genco Olive Oil Company and perhaps one other rogue still outstanding now.

  14. 26 George M
    August 6, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    Wonderful work, RPUK. This is one of the keys to weakening their resistance. If one can illustrate and name those of, or associated with, great wealth and power and who are targeting “ordinary people” to help maintain an industry founded on organised crime by presenting the names involved from mid level upwards then the rot will have started. (Mid level, in this context, means those who feel the need to try to avoid being associated with the events they organise, organisations they help set up and the lies and twists contained in them.)
    The public, in general, is now moving strongly against blood sports, especially those who ruin the environment and the ecology in the process. They also dislike cruelty to birds and animals so if it can be shown that individuals of great wealth are using it to corrupt information presented to them as fact, it will only increase the speed of their fall.
    More of this please, as we need to be hacking away at the core of this decaying hulk.

  15. 27 Coop
    August 6, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    This really is hugely impressive work, and ripe for another Channel 4 news item. Well done to all involved. Let’s show the corrupt bastards they’ve nowhere to hide.

  16. 28 Jimmy
    August 6, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    Sounds very like that crowd SOS(Save our Songbirds) – merely a cynical front to cover for their real aims that are anything but conservation

  17. August 6, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    If they the moorland communities are fed up, they should get their act together and stop [Ed: rest of comment deleted as libellous]

  18. August 6, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    Ah…… Explains a lot. I do enjoy a good detective story.

  19. 31 John L
    August 6, 2020 at 7:05 pm

    Interesting, and excellent work.

    I do believe one of the individuals linked to the Moorland Communities Tradition Ltd is a member of the same family who owns a grouse moor estate where illegal pole traps were found, and a keeper was cautioned by the police.

    Could this mean that part of the “tradition” is raptor persecution??

    Maybe its time to sit down and watch that excellent film- “The Godfather”, and remind myself just what an intricate web is woven by those who want to distance themselves from the murky world in which they operate.

    To quote Shakespeare- “All that glistens is not gold……Gilded tombs do worms enfold”!!!!

    • 32 Paul V Irving
      August 6, 2020 at 8:40 pm

      Also a member of the same family were present with a member of the royal family (currently domiciled abroad, hopefully permanently) on a certain infamous evening on Dersingham Bog

  20. 33 Stephen Lewis
    August 6, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    Well done RPUK – hen harrier points awarded. That’ll RATTLE the fun killers.

  21. 34 AnMac
    August 6, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    A great piece of research by all, many thanks to your team in reporting all of your findings to the general public.

    The day of reckoning for them all is one step closer by what you have revealed. I am smiling tonight.

  22. August 6, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    I would love to believe that the cells at the old Bailley are on the third floor…..

    I noticed that one of the Directors shares a very similar name and the same birth month as a Director of many (property) companies. Can you be a director under two different names? (But he no longer has “significant control” of MCTL.

    One of the remaining directors with significant control is also a current director of GWCT. Another director is a retired director of GWCT.

    [Ed: And another is a regional rep of the Moorland Association]

  23. 36 Madeleine J C Massey
    August 6, 2020 at 11:08 pm

    With regard to studies on ecology, as the last Moorland group of solicitors based in London and Glos. stated was an aim, –
    I read an articles recently how true conservationists in Africa were being booted out and replaced by people who did not have the same principles, were serving the trophy hunting doctrine, and that left no one to counter their arguments as reporters do not have the academic clout and respect as a academics on nature conservation. Badly put, but you may get my drift or probably know it all already.

  24. 37 Andrew Spacey
    August 6, 2020 at 11:52 pm

    [Ed: comment deleted as libellous]

  25. 38 Nick Morphet
    August 7, 2020 at 12:25 am

    A fantastic bit of investigatory journalism! Thank you :-)

  26. 39 C4PMC
    August 7, 2020 at 7:47 am

    The Campaign for the Protection of Moorland Communities (C4PMC) was founded in October 2019 in response to continued aggression, intimidation and inaccuracies spread about moorland management and individuals working across our moorland communities, particularly gamekeepers and their families.

    To give you just a few examples of this, they include:
    o Gamekeepers having activists setting cameras on their home;
    o Sheep farmers and their children being accosted and screamed at in their villages by masked activists;
    o Tens of thousands of pounds worth of equipment being vandalised across moorland estates;
    o Malicious notes including accusation of being ‘rapists’ and ‘paedophiles’ sent to employers and neighbours;
    o A never-ending barrage of personal abuse across social media;
    o Local game-dealers and butcher shops being vandalised and painted over, resulting in much needed income being lost, particularly given the effects of the ongoing pandemic.

    We believe strongly that the social, economic and environmental benefits brought to our communities by integrated moorland management bring enormous public benefits and we will seek to protect these. We wish to raise further public awareness of this, but it should be of little surprise that those involved did not want to publicise their involvement given the vicious hostility, both online and in person, that has been shown for many years towards gamekeepers and their familie.

    C4PMC is supported by a London based PR firm, SABI Strategy Group, in a similar way those campaigning for grouse moor reform are also supported by a PR firm. Ideas for stories the C4PMC website are contributed from across the Upland Communities in the UK. There are no other members of staff involved. Any individuals who had been represented at any stage on our website are only reflecting the moorland communities C4PMC represents.

    Whilst we have been hard hitting in many of our stories, including in respect of the RSPB’s xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx, we have only ever sought to report the truth. For example, we believed it is important for the public to understand that the individual responsible for the RSPB’s political direction is a Labour activist who was a former staffer to Labour Kerry McCarthy MP. McCarthy has been singularly the most vocal critic and campaigner against grouse shooting, demonstrated by providing Chris Packham an unprecedented unique platform in Parliament without any opportunity to be challenged on his claims. We make no apology for bringing this to public light. A public charity should not operate in this way.

    C4PMC have also sought on many occasions to be conciliatory, demonstrating the benefit of collective effort with all parties working together, and continue to be so. We believe our editorial stance is firm, but fair and this will not change.

    We reiterate, we welcome all contributions to our news blog which reflect the interests of our moorland communities.

    • 40 Coop
      August 8, 2020 at 2:42 pm

      You’re exposed for what you are for all to see; a disgrace to rural communities, and a pestilence on our countryside.

    • 41 Styephen Lewis
      August 8, 2020 at 7:31 pm

      “continued aggression, intimidation and inaccuracies”. Hmmm, that about sums up C4PMC in a nutshell. Who put those dead animals on Chris Packham’s gate, for example? Fortunately, your days of the fun-killing of our wildlife are numbered.

    • August 8, 2020 at 8:51 pm

      Good to see you peeking out from your cloak of secrecy…only to confirm what we know, can you please enlighten on the background to your campaign?

      Are you a company or a membership organisation? if you are a membership organisation, do you have a constitution and how do you join?

      If you are a company, who are the directors, where is your office?

      If you are neither a company nor a membership organisation….what are you, a few rich boys shouty voice?

    • 43 sog
      August 9, 2020 at 12:20 pm

      I wonder what you mean by ‘intergrated moorland management’? East of Cairngorm I see a denuded landscape of burned heather and no trees, possibly with drained peat bogs and access tracks. I understand there are few species which might predate grouse or disturb a shoot. It looks to me about as natural as a field of wheat, but with less benefit to the wider community.

  27. 44 Tim Dixon
    August 7, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    Edward Anthoney Egerton HOSKYNS-ABRAHALL who is a Director of GWCT resigned as a Director of Moorland Communities Tradition Ltd yesterday! He is a lawyer.

    Intriguing.

    Rat, ship, sinking

  28. 45 the howff
    August 7, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    and I see that the chap with the very long posh name resigned as a director YESTERDAY. Interesting.

  29. 46 Secret Squirrel
    August 8, 2020 at 12:00 am

    Of course by ‘ communities’ they mean the feudal relics that exist in our country. Hopefully they go the way of all things that refuse to evolve

  30. 47 Les Wallace
    August 8, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    A superb piece of investigative journalism, well done!!! Yet another thing that’s well past its time is the actual communities in grouse shooting areas getting their say. For too long the estates have gotten off with taking it upon themselves to conveniently be the voice for locals. It’s infuriating how programmes like Countryfile take this at face value and go along with it. What would the real story be if local communities were encouraged to and felt free to speak openly? This phony community initiative is therefore par for the course, but the mass produced placards are a give away. They’re just digging a mighty big hole for themselves and it just needs the rest of us to give them a bloody big push into it.

  31. 48 Spaghnum Morose
    August 9, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Lets none of us forget this was just one of their slimy efforts in the battle for truth within public opinion. They have other irons in the fire…and when the squeeze really comes on them they wont hesitate to use a different type of Agency – for a very dark and underhand “black ops” campaign. If this isnt hsppening already, phones will be bugged, emails hacked, etc, etc. This is an enemy that has money and power and no scruples.

  32. 49 sog
    August 13, 2020 at 11:38 am

    So C4PMC haven’t returned.

    Burned?


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