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Kent Police drop investigation into 'illegal' fox hunt

An investigation into an alleged illegal hunt has been dropped after detectives ruled they did not have enough evidence.

Police were handed footage of a fox being chased by hounds in Maidstone and its corpse later being picked up and carried off.

The East Kent Hunt Saboteurs captured the video when they followed members who they believe are from the Ashford Valley Tickham Hunt in Yalding in November.

Police have dropped an investigation into the alleged illegal killing of a fox after officers deemed it was an accident during a trail hunt
Police have dropped an investigation into the alleged illegal killing of a fox after officers deemed it was an accident during a trail hunt

During the footage the fox can be seen running across land off Collier Street before being carried by a terrier man seconds after its death.

Kent Police launched an investigation but revealed last week that there was insufficient evidence to present the case to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Despite the footage being handed to police, it was deemed the kill was an accident.

Hunting for foxes with hounds was outlawed in England in 2005 with many hunting groups opting for the alternative of trail hunts where the scent of an animal is used with no kill at the end.

Police have dropped an investigation into the alleged illegal killing of a fox after officers deemed it was an accident during a trail hunt
Police have dropped an investigation into the alleged illegal killing of a fox after officers deemed it was an accident during a trail hunt

Despite the objective being to not physically hunt a real fox, it is often the case that an accidental kill could still take place.

The saboteur behind the camera is heard telling members of the hunt: “Just so you know, you just killed a fox. You’re not trail hunting.

"So if you’re under any illusion that you’re trail hunting, you’re not.”

A member of the East Kent Hunt Saboteurs was told last week that the case had been closed by police more than five months after the film was captured and allegations were made.

A spokesman for the saboteurs said: "This is the fourth year in a row that we have provided Kent police with clear evidence of illegal hunting in Kent, but with nobody being successfully prosecuted, we can only assume that there are dark forces at work.

Police have dropped an investigation into the alleged illegal killing of a fox after officers deemed it was an accident during a trail hunt
Police have dropped an investigation into the alleged illegal killing of a fox after officers deemed it was an accident during a trail hunt

“Until police forces around the country take a harder line on these illegal hunters riding roughshod over the law, fox hunting will just continue pre-ban style, and our wildlife will continue to be used as toys in these peoples sick idea of sport.

“It is high time that the Hunting Act is strengthened, and these absurd loopholes are removed.”

A spokesman for Kent Police said: On 1.45pm on Saturday, November 11, 2017, officers received an allegation that a fox had been killed by dogs during a hunt near Collier Street, Yalding.

“Kent Police conducted a thorough investigation, including speaking to witnesses and the examination of video footage.

“Investigators concluded that the hunt had not intended to kill the fox as it had unexpectedly run across the path of the hounds.

“Consequently, a decision was made that there was insufficient evidence to support a prosecution. The person who made the original allegation has been informed.”

The Ashford Valley Tickham Hunt declined to comment.

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