THE chairman of a renowned hunt has stepped down from his role following his conviction for illegally pursuing fox cubs with hounds.
The Honourable Johnny Greenall, son of the Baron of Daresbury, announced his decision in the latest newsletter of The Meynell & South Staffordshire Hunt, citing the court case as his reason.
Greenall and Glen Morris, of Ludgate Street, Tutbury, were secretly filmed by anti-hunt campaigners trying to kill foxes near Hilton.
Greenall, 52, was fined £3,515 and Morris, of Ludgate Street, Tutbury, was ordered to pay £515.
Footage played at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court showed members of the hunt surrounding a wood at Suffield Farm, in Sutton on the Hill, in October last year.
The hounds entered the wood to hunt young foxes in a sport known as ‘cubbing’.
One fleeing fox was scared back into the wood by the surrounding huntsmen, who were clapping their hands.
Hunting foxes with dogs was made illegal in the 2004 Hunting Act.
The National Trust later banned the hunt from riding on its land, which includes Calke Abbey, near Ticknall, following a petition urging the trust to remove access rights for the hunt.
In the newsletter, Greenall said of the court case: “This was a disappointing day, not only personally but for the hunt.
However, there are lessons to be learnedand I am standing down so that the result of the court case doesn’t overshadow or provide a distraction to the new season and our law-abiding activities.”
He added that he would stay on as a trustee of the hunt and in the meantime, current vice chairman Richard Froggatt would take on chairmanship until May 1, 2013.
The committee has approved the appointment of Richard Parrott as chairman when he steps down as master at the end of the season.