Hunt employees broke law by digging a fox out of badger sett, court told


Derek Hopkins, left, and Kevin Allen
Derek Hopkins, left, and Kevin Allen

Two hunt employees broke the law by digging a fox out of a badger sett where it was trying to escape hounds, a court has heard.

Derek Hopkins and Kevin Allen are accused of breaching the ban on hunting with dogs. Both deny the charge.

The trial of the two men, from the Harborough-based Fernie Hunt, began at Leicester Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

The court was shown footage, shot at long range by the League Against Cruel Sports, of men digging at the sett.

The video also showed mounted members of the hunt looking on.

Huntsman Hopkins and Allen, a terrier man, both face charges under the Hunting Act 2004 and the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.

Both Hopkins (45), of Welham Road, Great Bowden, and Allen (51), of Nether Green, Great Bowden, deny hunting a wild mammal with a dog contrary to the law.

They also deny interfering with a badger sett, or being reckless that their actions would damage it.

The alleged offences are said to have taken place on Wednesday, January 27, after the hunt met at Thorpe Langton, near Market Harborough.

Diana Cottrell, prosecuting, told the court the case included footage of a day’s hunting.

Ms Cottrell said: “The DVD will show that there are hounds on the scent of a fox at around 1pm and that fox has gone to ground.

“You will see huntsman Hopkins ride up on his white horse and then instruct terrier man Allen to introduce a terrier into the sett.”

She showed the bench a DVD of the incident which occurred at the hamlet of Stonton Wyville.

The film was shot by hunt monitors, who set up an observation post in Church Langton, about one-and-a-half kilometres away, and used long lenses to record the footage.

The DVD showed hounds collecting around a badger sett and the hunt assembling as men on foot dug at the entrances to the sett.

A fox is then seen running from the sett and hounds heading in the same direction followed by members of the hunt.

Other footage showed hounds allegedly chasing a fox at another location.

Further evidence was shown which claimed the sett was occupied by badgers.

Ms Cottrell added that a terrier was introduced into the sett by Allen on the instructions of Hopkins.

Philip Mott QC, defending, stressed that to show there was an offence under the Hunting Act the “hunting” of the fox had to be intentional. In law, it is legal to flush out a fox with a dog unintentionally and for it to be killed by shooting.

The case continues.

http://www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/news/HUNT-PAIR-DUG-FOX-BADGER-SETT/article-3001197-detail/article.html

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