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York and Ainsty South Hunt denies claims of illegal fox hunting
A NORTH YORKSHIRE hunt has denied claims it illegally hunted foxes on parkland near Selby.
The York and Ainsty South Hunt held a Pony Club ride at Escrick Park, near Selby, on December 28.
Activists from a Sheffield hunt saboteurs group have claimed it hunted three foxes and broke the law by illegally disturbing an active badger sett on the estate.
The hunt has rejected the accusations, and police have issued a statement saying it had received no formal complaints of illegal fox hunting on that day.
However, a police spokesman confirmed two men have been arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage, and investigations have been launched into the allegation of badger sett disturbance.
The arrested men, a 33-year-old from Sheffield, and a 46-year-old from Doncaster, are both thought to be anti-hunt activists.
Police have also said they are investigating a separate allegation of assault on another man at Escrick Park on the same day.
A spokesman for the York and Ainsty South Hunt said it had been made aware of allegations about illegal fox hunting through social media, but totally rejected the claims. He said: “We understand there are no active police investigations into the allegations.
“The York and Ainsty South Hunt has hunted within the parametres of the Hunting Act 2004 since it came into force in 2005.
“We must stress that it is a condition of our permission to use Escrick Park that we hunt within the law.”
Escrick Park has been inundated with messages on social media about the incident, and owner Charles Forbes Adams has issued a statement through its Facebook page saying the estate takes conservation very seriously.
He said: “The York and Ainsty South Hunt, together with the York and Ainsty South Pony Club, enjoyed a family day out here exercising hounds within the law on December 28.
“The meet passed off without any problems.
“After the hunt had finished, there was an alleged incident on the estate involving a fox, which we are currently investigating.
It is very important to stress that Escrick Park Estate deplores any illegal killing of animals.”
However, the statement attracted angry posts from people urging the estate to stop allowing the hunt on its land.