The Daily Telegraph has reported that Avon and Somerset Police are investigating how an animal rights group obtained a spreadsheet of names, addresses and telephone numbers of people on a database owned by the Mendip Farmers’ Hunt.
The extremist group now under the spotlight had previously been forced to host its website in Iceland, after being accused of encouraging ‘telephone terrorists’ in the UK, according to the newspaper.
The website’s group spokesman Jay Tiernan, who has a criminal record, directly challenged the authorities telling the Telegraph "naming and shaming" those involved in the badger cull or hunting was the group’s "remit", adding: "We will continue to do it as long as we can".
News reports online detail how Tiernan, whose real name is Gamal Eboe, was handed an 8 month suspended- sentence in 2003 after submitting false claims for £3,000 to the Department of Education for training students. In an interview with the Farmers Guardian, he admitted to using the cash to fund rent and living expenses. He was also found guilty of contempt of court because of nine breaches of an injunction granted to the NFU against campaign groups in August 2013.
Among the personal details disclosed on the activist website, some include non-hunt supporters; including local residents who the Mendip Farmers’ Hunt contact ahead of any planned trail hunting activity in the area.
The list includes the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is also the MP for North East Somerset.
Responding to the Telegraph, Mr. Rees Mogg said: "As a local MP I have never tried to hide away and think that tiresome tricks by the rentamob brigade are nothing to fret about".
A spokesman for the Mendip Farmers’ Hunt said that they understand the "serious concern to all those who may be affected" and are "working closely with the police" but are unable to comment whilst the investigation is ongoing.
A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: "We have provided the group with precautionary safety advice for those people affected as a matter of routine. Our cyber team is investigating and a referral to Action Fraud has been made. Enquiries are continuing."