Police investigate ‘fox hunt’ claims in Asterby

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Police are investigating claims that some riders and hounds taking part in a Boxing Day hunt chased and cornered a young fox in Asterby End.

A complaint was made to Lincolnshire Police by Asterby End resident Paul Croft.

However, the field secretary at the South Wold Hunt, Jeremy Wright, has denied that any of the participants would have committed such an offence, stating: “As far as we are concerned, we operate within the law.”

The current legislation (the Hunting Act 2004) states: “A person commits an offence if he hunts a wild mammal with a dog, unless his hunting is exempt.”

Under the legislation, the South Wold Hunt features hounds chasing an artificial scent, rather than pursuing and killing wild animals.

The complaint was raised last week by Mr Croft who said he witnessed some huntsmen and hounds appearing to chase a fox across land near his property.

Mr Croft said: “I was shocked, dismayed and saddened as I gazed across the field near to my home.

“The fox running for its life was being chased by a closing pack of wailing hounds across the field and then along the boundary hedge adjacent to my house and land before disappearing from my line of vision.

“The terrified fox was cornered near to a small copse on my land.

“I did not see whether the fox was killed or if it was, how it was killed or if it managed to slip into the little spinney on my land.

“A participating huntswoman on horseback, whom I challenged about this, when I said: ‘I thought fox hunting with dogs was illegal act’, shouted back from her moving horse that it was ‘not illegal’.”

Mr Croft added: “I am not against country pursuits, I love the countryside and the wildlife that abounds here in the beautiful Lincolnshire Wolds 
where I have the privilege of living.

“I remain sickened and bewildered by what I saw and experienced.”

A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: “We can confirm that we have received this report and we are currently investigating.”

• If you have any information, call the police on 101 and quote incident number 144 of December 28.