BBC journalist Chris Packham to be charged with 'assaulting' trappers

Chris Packham outside police station

The wildlife campaigner was making a documentary on illegal bird trapping on the islands when he claims he and his team were shoved and shouted at.

Yesterday, Packham was in Gozo where he spent up to two hours at the Victoria Police Station because two trappers claimed he had assaulted them, and filed police charges against him.

"He even suggested that our footage should be sent to an Italian comedy channel and remarked at some point: 'Is it any wonder we have problems when the police are acting like this?'"

His agent said that later, while filming on a roadside, two men jumped out of a vehicle and started shouting and shoving the presenter and his team.

He continued: "Whilst Chris and the team stood back, the police joined them".

He said he is due to appear in court at 9am on Thursday.

He insisted he was "completely innocent" - and that he was the victim of being "pushed and jostled around".

The 55-year-old said: "Obviously we've had to give up our time today for this, where we could be out looking for illegal activity and reporting it".

The popular broadcaster is now making a film about the spring hunt in Malta, where thousands of birds are shot during their migration.

"It's time-wasting, money-wasting and intimidation".

In a tweet just after the sentence, Mr Packham said: "Not guilty. And wait until you see our evidence..."

He also posted a photo of himself dressed in a borrowed suit ahead of appearing at court, where he was accompanied by producer Ruth Peacey, who said the magistrate had thrown the case out. Chris had been charged with assault and trespass after a confrontation with men he believed had illegally trapped wild birds. That season ended last week, meaning bird trapping is illegal.

European Union restrictions on the hunting of birds make two exceptions for Malta - allowing people to hunt turtle doves and quail in the spring, under strict regulations.

Maltese police have been contacted by the BBC for comment.

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