Wildlife campaigner Chris Packham has said he is due to appear in court in Gozo charged with assault as he filmed a documentary on illegal bird trapping.

The BBC Springwatch presenter was on the island off Malta in the Mediterranean making an independent programme when he claimed he and his team were shouted at and shoved.

Chris said he had earlier called police after seeing what he thought was a cage full of birds, including what he believed to be some protected species.

Some hours later he said he became the victim of an assault, but was instead himself charged in relation to the incident.

In a statement his agent said: “Whilst filming an interview on the public roadside, a vehicle appeared and two men jumped out shouting at Chris and his team, shoving them aggressively.

Chris Packham at an awards ceremony
Chris Packham (Lewis Whyld/PA)

 

“Whilst Chris and the team stood back, the police joined them. Instead of intervening on behalf of the innocent parties, the police immediately took the side of the aggressors and manhandled Chris and other members of the team off the site.”

Tweeting after the incident on Tuesday the presenter said: “Malta! You point out suspected criminals to the police … and you end up in court!”

In a short video clip explaining what happened he said he had been charged with “using force against any person, with an intent to insult, annoy or hurt them”.

He added: “I am completely innocent of these charges. Not only was I the victim of being pushed and jostled around I was also then pushed all the way up the street by a policeman.”

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

[Read more: 7 things you need to know about Chris Packham]