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'Balaclava-clad thugs blow up Land Rover' outside BBC Springwatch presenter Chris Packham's home

Television star Chris Packham has claimed that a Land Rover was blown up by hate campaigners outside his home's front gate on Friday night.

The presenter of BBC's Springwatch said that at around midnight of Friday, balaclava-clad thugs drove his car to his remote country home and set fire to it, before fleeing in a get-away vehicle. 

Mr Packham, 60, who was alone in his house at the time, said that Land Rover turned into an inferno before it exploded shortly after.

Television star Chris Packham has claimed that a Land Rover was blown up by hate campaigners outside his home's front gate. Pictured: The charred gate after the fire

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, the anti-hunting campaigner said that he had gone to bed and was 'crashed out' when the incident happened.

'The gate isn't visible from the bedroom but of course when it exploded, it went off with a massive bang which woke me and the dogs up,' he told the newspaper. 

'It was an inferno. The neighbours called the fire brigade and they turned up and put it out. The police turned up a bit later.'

The explosion, caught on CCTV, set fire to Mr Packham's gate and fence of his property in Hampshire's New Forest.

The attack came hours after Mr Packham marched to Buckingham Palace to call on the Royal Family to re-wild their estates. 

He has been targeted before. In 2019, he received death threats after he launched a legal challenge in an attempt to stop people shooting so-called pest birds like pigeons and crows.

The presenter of BBC's Springwatch said that at around midnight of Friday, balaclava-clad thugs drove his car to his remote country home and set fire to it, before fleeing in a get-away vehicle

The presenter has also been sent packages of human excrement, had barbed wire left on his drive to puncture his tyres, and found dead crows hung from his gate.

Conservationist Charlotte Corney, 44, Mr Packham's long term partner, often stays at the house along with his step-daughter Megan McCubbin, 25.

Two years ago, a group that the Mr Packham is a part of - Wild Justice Group - helped to force through a change in the law to do with the shooting of 16 bird species.

Hunters and farmers were infuriated by the move, who said they were now unable to cull crows attacking newborn lambs or stop pigeons stealing their crops - unless the applied for individual licenses.

The Government later introduced three other licences that are almost identical to the one that was banned, but they don't apply in some protection zones.

The TV star told The Mirror that he has stopped telling his partner and step daughter about more of the recent hate incidents against him, calling it the 'same-old, same-old'.

He said recently someone threw a dead badger next to his gate, and that he feared that if the group with the 4X4 had a truck, they would have rammed down his gate and set fire to the vehicle next to his house.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, the anti-hunting Mr Packham campaigner said that he had gone to bed and was 'crashed out' when the incident happening.

'It's all about intimidation,' he told the newspaper, adding that he is now worried about the family's dogs, as well as their friends and family.

Hampshire Police have appealed for help in catching those responsible for the fire.

'It was reported that a vehicle was on fire outside a property, which had subsequently spread to a surrounding gate and fence. Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service attended and extinguished the blaze,' a spokesman said.

'No arrests have been made. Were you in the area at the time? Did you see what happened? Or perhaps you have dash-cam footage or doorbell footage leading up to the incident.'

Yesterday, Mr Packham led a children's march to Buckingham Palace to hand deliver a petition asking the Queen to rewild royal lands.

The eco campaigner was joined by around 100 'school strikers' in a procession across Green Park to the palace with a petition boasting 100,000 signatures in hand. 

The petition is aimed at urging the Royal Family to commit to rewilding its estates before the Cop26 climate summit in October. 

The royals are the UK's biggest landowners, with an estate that includes lands owned by the duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall and the Queen. 

The eco campaigner was joined by around 100 'school strikers' in a procession across Green Park to the palace

The petition gathered over 100,000 signatures 

Speaking outside the palace on Saturday, Packham said: 'Frankly, my conscience is not clear.'

 It's estimated that the family owns land equivalent to 1.4 per cent of the UK.    

Speaking outside the palace on Saturday, Packham said: 'Frankly, my conscience is not clear.

'On my watch as an environmentalist and conservationist, I have failed these young people - I have failed to act quickly and broadly enough to prevent the crisis that we find ourselves in.

'The world that they are likely to inherit - unless we act urgently, properly and quickly now - will not be as pleasant as the one I inherited when I was their age. And that's not something I want to take to my grave.

'It's the most harmonious, beautiful and peaceful demonstration I have been on for some time.     

'We're asking our royal Family, denizens of the property behind us, to rewild the 800,000 acres of land that they have in the UK,' Chris Packham said. 

'We're asking our royal Family, denizens of the property behind us, to rewild the 800,000 acres of land that they have in the UK. If they were to do so it would be a very powerful message that would resonate with people all over the world.'

Among those who marched was 16-year-old Noah Macaulay, a sixth-form student from Hampshire and co-founder of choir SOS from the Kids. 

The group, who have performed on Britain's Got Talent, write and sing songs as a form of environmental activism, and are set to perform at Cop26. 

'The royal family has an amazing opportunity, because they own so much land, to lead by example and rewild that,' the teen said. 

It is hoped the march will encourage the Queen to adopt reclamation strategies 

More than 100 children joined Chris Packham to deliver the petition 

'They could really, really help to improve nature and help biodiversity.' 

A Royal Estates spokesperson said: 'Members of the royal family have a longstanding commitment to conservation and biodiversity, and for over 50 years have championed the preservation and development of natural ecosystems.

'The Royal Estates are constantly evolving and looking for new ways to continue improving biodiversity, conservation and public access to green spaces, as well as being home to thriving communities and businesses which form part of the fabric of the local community.'