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Saboteur 'stabbed' at Southdown and Eridge fox hunt near Tunbridge Wells

A man has been arrested after a hunt saboteur was reportedly stabbed in the hand as protesters clashed with hunters near a Kent town at the weekend. 

The Southdown and Eridge Hunt met at Eridge Green, close to Tunbridge Wells, on Saturday morning where they were greeted by saboteurs, concerned for the welfare of foxes in the area. 

As the two sides clashed a 51-year-old man was stabbed and a car window was smashed in the rural area, just over the county border. 

WARNING: Graphic image below

The trouble happened at a fox hunt. Stock picture by Letitia Buckley (not taken at a hunt)

The trouble happened at a fox hunt. Stock picture by Letitia Buckley (not taken at a hunt)

A 20-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault causing grievous bodily harm with intent and has been bailed until Monday, December 21 while police carry out enquiries.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: "At 9.38am on Saturday, November 14, police were called to Eridge Green, where a meeting of the local hunt was taking place. 

"A hunt saboteur reported being stabbed in the hand with a knife. The injury to the man was not believed to be serious. 

An elderly man also became the victim of an attack at the meet when his car windows were broken. 

The stabbing was reported after saboteurs and the hunt clashed in Eridge. Picture Hunt Saboteurs Association

The stabbing was reported after saboteurs and the hunt clashed in Eridge. Picture: Hunt Saboteurs Association

The police spokesman continued: "In a separate incident at the same venue, close to the junction of the A26 with Sandhill Lane, a woman, believed to be a hunt saboteur, was reported to have smashed windows in a car belonging to an elderly man who was supporting the hunt.

"The hunt and saboteurs dispersed at about 11am. Both incidents reported to police are being investigated."

Police are also investigating a number of reports of fights, people being chased and assaulted and are speaking to witnesses to establish the circumstances. 

Saboteurs arrived at the hunt concerned for foxes in the area. Stock image

Saboteurs arrived at the hunt concerned for foxes in the area. Stock image

A woman’s mobile phone was reportedly stolen as she filmed an altercation between the two opposing sides and police are looking into this as well.

The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) believed at least two of their members were injured but police only had details of one casualty. 

HSA spokesman Lee Moon said hunt members were "furious" when the saboteurs turned up and complained police had "hassled" victims.

He added: "Saboteurs are used to such violence. It doesn't deter us and in fact only makes us more determined to stop people illegally hunting and killing wildlife."

Traditional hunting with dogs has been illegal for 10 years. Stock picture by Nico Morgan

Traditional hunting with dogs has been illegal for 10 years. Stock picture by Nico Morgan

Traditional fox hunting with dogs has been illegal for 10 years, although hunts are allowed to flush foxes out for pest control purposes providing the animals are shot soon afterwards. 

Saboteurs often turn up at hunt meets to make sure no foxes are killed and there are frequently clashes between the two sides. 

Since the Conservatives were voted in earlier this year there has been talk of a free vote in the House of Commons to overturn the ban but this has not happened yet.

Witnesses to either incident are asked to email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101 quoting 431 of Saturday, November 14 and police are particularly keen to see videos shot on the day. Southdown and Eridge Hunt could not be contacted for a comment. If a hunt spokesman wishes to comment, please email selvey@thekmgroup.co.uk or call 01622 695666. 

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