Chris Packham’s fears for family after ‘suspicious packages’ sent to his home

BBC presenter Chris Packham is stepping up security after “suspicious packages” were sent to his home – but has vowed not to let pro-hunting fanatics beat him.

The conservationist says he fears for his family after two packages were delivered on Saturday.

They were found by his girlfriend Charlotte Corney on Sunday. His 23-year-old stepdaughter Megan was also at his New Forest home in Hampshire over the weekend.

“I am not worried for me,” the 57-year-old said. “I am concerned about the people around me getting caught in the crossfire. I didn’t want them at home on their own.

“Police came to the house and were adamant I didn’t open the packages myself.”

Charlotte, his partner of 12 years, added: “When the hatred becomes more personal and comes a bit closer to home it’s a bit unsettling. Because you don’t know how close or far away those people are to doing something really bad.”

Since securing a ban on farmers indiscriminately shooting “pest” birds last week, Chris has suffered a tidal wave of abuse, even having two dead birds hung on the fence of his home.


The Springwatch presenter has also been advised to step up security around his home.

One of the packages contained a wooden plaque with a drawing of male genitalia on, which Chris mocked on Twitter . The second package contained human excrement but police have sent the packaging away for further tests as a precaution.

A spokesman for Hampshire police said: “We received a report of malicious communications being sent.”

Chris said: "“It isn’t going to sway me, it’s a complete waste of time, it’s a waste of postage and, frankly, it’s a waste of s***.

“I’m not losing a wink of sleep over this. If there’s an opportunity to use it for good, I will. If not, I will forget about it. People of my mindset, these things don’t get to us. All this does is spur me on.

“We’re not intimidated. We face physical violence. We’ve been shot at, had cars vandalised. There is the constant fear of being beaten up – but I’ve just never been intimidated by those kinds of things.”

Trolls have also started to target 42-year-old Charlotte’s zoo on the Isle of Wight and the deluge of hate has become so bad the zoo’s Facebook page has been taken down and TripAdvisor has suspended the reviews page.

Abusive lies about the zoo included: “Absolutely disgusting place, horrible staff and awful scenes of animal cruelty. This place should be closed down immediately. Please have mercy on the poor animals.”

Another accused the zoo of being “infested with rats”.

Chris said: “Charlotte is worried the animals in her zoo will be targeted. It’s insane they are targeting a charity that rescues abused animals. If you’ve got an issue, come to me.”

Charlotte said the negative comments will cause significant damage to its income.

“It feels like theft,” she said. “They think Chris owns it and he profits from the zoo – we’re a charity for god’s sake,” she said.

Veronica Chrisp, Chief Executive Officer of the Isle of Wight Zoo, added: “The IOW zoo is owned by The Wildheart Trust, an independent charity that specialises in the rescue and rehabilitation of a variety of exotic animals but particularly big cats.

“This sort of mindless negativity which is preventing us from communicating, promoting and fundraising is a distraction and deeply detrimental to our work preventing us from aiding and supporting those animals out there that desperately need our help.”

In the past, Chris has also received threats about his beloved 16-year-old poodle Scratchy.

He said: “Last time they threatened to poison Scratchy. And they tied a load of dead foxes to the gate. I worry about them coming into the garden and chucking stuff in that he could eat.”

Chris has a string of enemies and recently posted: “Can I please ask why campaigning against 1) the illegal killing of raptors 2) illegal fox hunting 3) pesticides which are human carcinogens 4) poor animal husbandry and 5) a scientifically invalid badger cull makes me an ‘enemy’ of the countryside?”

Incredibly, more than 120,000 people have signed a petition on change.org telling the BBC to sack Chris and so far 34,000 have signed a counter petition.

The trolls are also attacking an upcoming dog festival Chris is hosting, with several big brands associated said to be considering pulling out.

Richard Nowell, organiser of Dogstival, said: “We’ve had very unpleasant messages from countryside groups who disagree with Dogstival’s involvement with Chris. But people shouldn’t be using our event as a platform to get at Chris. We are a family-friendly dog festival. There’ll be thousands of children there.

“We’re supporting a number of local and national charities, including the local school who specialise in helping children with autism and have given them the chance to meet Chris.

“We’ve had a couple of big brands and stalls who are planning to drop out because they’re concerned about the negative publicity over Chris.”

Chris added: “It’s a family-friendly festival – what are they trying to prove? Because I get this hate relentlessly, I am accustomed it. When the zoo or Dogstival staff are exposed to it, it’s a shock and unfair.”

The RSPCA is associated with the festival, but is fully backing Chris.

They said: "We are a nation of dog lovers and that is something that should be celebrated. We feel Dogstival is the perfect event for everyone – families, pet owners, young and old – to enjoy this and we are proud to be a part of it. We are really looking forward to introducing everyone there to the work of the RSPCA and we are proud to be associated with Chris Packham.”

The BBC star also says trolls are picking on him for having Asperger’s, something he’s dealt with all his life.

An online country magazine published a piece about Chris two days ago, saying: “What have Sven Van Hasselt, Greta Thunberg and Chris Packham got in common? They are fanatical campaigners and, incidentally, they all have Asperger’s syndrome.”

Chris said: “I’m a 57-year-old bloke who has been bullied all of his life and is used to dealing with it.

“But Greta, for example, is only 16. She may not have been able to put together a system of management to be able to deal with this.

“Any young person of that age who’s Asperger’s, just through lack of days in their life, probably hasn’t had the ability to put on an armour.

“But we’re so ferociously determined, nothing’s going to get in our way. Unfortunately the people around us are getting taken down like flies. It’s really nasty.”

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