Hare. UK: Huntsman cautioned for chasing hare in first case of its kind under Hunting Act
Nigel Bell was filmed chasing a hare by anti-hunt monitors in February this year and has been given a police caution Photo: GETTY
Nigel Bell, 53, from the Wick and District Beagles, admitted the breach after he was filmed chasing the animal by anti-hunt monitors in February this year.
It is the first time anti-hunt campaigners have successfully brought a case against a hare hunt under the Act which was introduced in 2004, the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) claimed.
Avon and Somerset Police confirmed Bell was cautioned on April 29 at Thornbury police station in connection with the incident on land between Horton and Badminton, in South Gloucestershire.
A spokeswoman for LACS said: “Although a caution may seem like he has been let off, it is actually a very helpful step forward in our fight against illegal hunters.
“What this demonstrates is that the Hunting Act is clear and enforceable and, furthermore, hunters know this to be the case. It is also apparent that the police are aware of what the law entails.
“This latest victory has been the result of the dedication and commitment of League monitors, and under caution it will be very difficult for Mr Bell to get off lightly on any further breaches of the Act.
“In light of the fact there currently exists more than 100 beagle packs, the incident involving Mr Bell will compel huntsmen next season to adhere to the law.”
The Wick and District Beagles is a relatively small hunting pack that follows beagle hounds on foot and, pre-ban, traditionally hunted hares rather than foxes or deer.
Based in South Gloucestershire, outside Bristol, it is well-known for bringing beagles to various country shows around the region.
A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: “We have investigated a couple of allegations of hunting wild animals with dogs, initially reported in January this year in Horton.
“In connection with that incident, a 53-year-old man was given an adult caution on April 29 at Thornbury police station.”