A HUNT monitor has told a court he saw foxes being illegally hunted on three occasions.
Henry James Hawksfield, 59, of Bines Road, Partridge Green, Rachael Holdsworth of Rock Road, Washington, Neil Millard, 45, of Dragons Lane, Shipley, and Andrew Phillis, 50, of Halwell, Totnes, Devon, have been charged under the Hunting Act 2004.
Today hunt monitor Simon Wilde, giving evidence at Horsham Magistrates’ Court, described three incidents in which he claims the Crawley and Horsham Hunt members were illegally pursuing foxes.
On February 15 last year, he said, he saw a dead fox being picked up by a rider before being taken by huntsman Phillis.
The hunt members’ defence is that they were trail hunting - a legal hobby where dogs and riders follow a prepared scent trail.
Trail hunters are expected to control their dogs if they encounter a fox.
Although there were times when he saw hunt members trying to call their dogs off, Mr Wilde said their efforts were ‘half-hearted’.
Cross-examined, he said he had been a hunt saboteur for many years before the Hunting Act came into law.
He accepted that relations between the Crawley and Horsham Hunt and himself were ‘not happy’.
Mr Wilde also agreed that he had never taken part in hunting, and his knowledge of hunting methods was picked up during his time as a saboteur.
For the full story, read this week’s County Times.
[Copy amended on 25/4/12 to reflect the correct use of the term ‘huntsman’.]