Archive - Tuesday, 7 November 2000
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Man fined £100 for making crop circle
A man was fined £100 after admitting damaging farmland while creating crop circles in Wiltshire.
Matthew Williams, 29, of Bishops Cannings, near Devizes, appeared before magistrates in what is believed to be the first such prosecution in the country.
For years intricate patterns discovered in fields have been blamed on acts of nature and even alien intervention, while others believe the ornate and crafted "works of art" have been composed by hoaxers using elaborate machinery under the cover of darkness.
Williams pleaded guilty to creating a seven-point star in a wheat field at Manor Farm, West Overton, near Marlborough in August. The unemployed computer technician, who said he created the design to prove experts wrong, was also ordered to pay £40 costs by Devizes magistrates.
Roger Jones, prosecuting, said farmer Michael Maude estimated £200 damage was caused.
He told the court: "Mr Williams said he created it because a crop circle researcher had said it wasn't possible for humans to create a seven-point star. His desire, he said, was to prove the experts wrong."
Stephen Clifford, defending, said the matter was reported to police by former professor of architecture Michael Glickman, who has been studying crop circles for many years.
Mr Glickman has written books on the subject, claimed on an American radio show that it was impossible for a human to create the star in a crop field.
Paranormal researcher Williams, who has also appeared on television and radio shows to talk about the subject and moved to Wiltshire two years ago to conduct more research, said he and an American friend created the circle at Manor Farm to prove Mr Glickman wrong.
Williams sent the results, via e-mail, to Whitley Strieber, the presenter of the American radio show who in turn passed them on to Mr Glickman.
Outside the hearing Williams, who originally comes from Cardiff, said: "I'm pleased it's been dealt with quickly. It was never my intention to mislead.
"There are some real circles but unfortunately there are researchers who aren't telling the truth. There is a phenomenon that is being ignored."
Mr Glickman, of Horton, near Devizes, said after the hearing that he was pleased Williams had been prosecuted but he denied reporting him to police.
The former professor of architecture at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles said many of the circles which appear in England were too large and intricate to be man-made.
He estimated that out of the 150 circles found in England this year, only around eight or nine were man-made.
He said: "I never said it was impossible to create a seven-point star, I just said that the geometry was very complicated. Anyone could see the one they had done was man-made."