Police probe after men 'caught trying to dig out fox'

Terrier man digging out a badger sett

Terrier men seen allegedly digging out a badger sett to reach a fox

Police are investigating allegations of illegal hunting after being passed video and photographic evidence from volunteer hunt monitors in Devon.

Devon County Hunt Saboteurs attended the Eggesford Hunt near Crediton on Saturday and allegedly found terrier men digging out a fox which had gone to ground in a badger sett - contravening both the 2004 Hunting Act and the 1992 Protection of Badgers Act.

Police attended the scene and the terrier men left as soon as they retrieved their terrier, which had nasty bite wounds on its face and shoulders, according to the hunt saboteurs.

"It's not just the fox that suffers in this situation. We often see terriers with their faces torn to shreds, hounds with broken limbs and horses sustaining serious injuries because they are forced to ride too fast, jump too high or carry too much weight," they added

In a separate incident, two 4x4s arrived carrying masked hunt supporters who allegedly began threatening the monitors. Officers ordered them to move on.

Police speak to hunt supporters

A police officer speaks to hunt supporters

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "We have been made aware of an incident that took place near Eggesford on Saturday 20 January, where there was an allegation of an assault, plus an allegation of crimes against the hunt act having taken place.

"We are working with those who were in attendance to gather video and still images as evidence.

"Anyone who was in attendance and has yet to have spoken to the police or shared relevant images with us, are asked to contact 101@dc.police.uk quoting log number 339 for the 20th of January.

"As this is now part of an active and live police investigation, we are unable to comment further, publicly at this time."

Hunt supporter

This is the kind of hunt supporter monitors have to deal with

Opponents of hunting claim the law needs tightening to close loopholes which result in wildlife being killed every week. A petition to strengthen the hunting act is currently awaiting a government response.

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