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Hunt supporters’ anger at prosecution

ANGRY HUNT supporters on Exmoor are meeting police to complain at the way they say police are treating them.

It comes just a few weeks after Avon and Somerset became the first force in the country to bring a criminal prosecution against two local huntsmen. Hunt supporters will be putting questions to Avon and Somerset police at a meeting in Exford over the way the case has been handled.

Police are declining to comment but say an officer will be at the meeting.

Maurice Scott, 63, and Peter Heard, 23, from the Devon and Somerset Staghounds were charged with illegally hunting with dogs, after events alleged to have taken place on Exmoor in April this year.

The men are on bail and are due back in court to appear before Taunton and Deane magistrates on November 2.

Until now, prosecutions for breaching the hunt ban have been privately brought by the League Against Cruel Sports.

The Hunt Saboteurs’ Association (HSA) of the UK welcomed the news that, for the first time since the Hunting Act became law, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), together with Avon and Somerset Police, will bring the first public prosecution against two hunt staff.

Dawn Preston, spokesperson for the HSA, stated ‘At last we see the police taking action, and not a minute too soon. One full season has already gone by without any public cases being brought, and this could have been seen to send a very worrying message out to the hunts that continue to hunt illegally. This case should hopefully start to hammer the message home that hunting was banned because the majority of the population do not want to see bloodsports practised.’