Eton College 'illegal hare hunt' claim sparks police inquiry

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Media captionThe League Against Cruel Sports said its undercover investigators had filmed a hare being hunted at Aldby Park in Buttercrambe

Eton College is at the centre of a police investigation over claims its beagling club took part in an illegal hare hunt in North Yorkshire.

The League Against Cruel Sports said it had filmed a hare being pursued by Eton College's dogs at a hunt at Aldby Park, in Buttercrambe, last October.

North Yorkshire Police confirmed it was investigating video footage of an alleged "illegal hunt activity".

The college said it took its legal responsibilities extremely seriously.

'Hare fleeing'

The charity said it believed members of the hunt were wearing the Eton College Beagles' "distinctive uniform of brown velvet jackets".

A spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports said the footage showed a hare fleeing from dogs after hunt staff and supporters were heard discussing its whereabouts. The hunt staff were then heard urging the beagles on.

Eton College

  • Eton was founded by King Henry VI in 1440 in Windsor, Berkshire
  • The boarding school caters for about 1,300 pupils aged 13 to 18
  • The school uniform consists of a black tailcoat (or morning coat), waistcoat, false-collar, white tie and pinstripe trousers
  • Princes William and Harry both attended the school, which has educated a number of prime ministers, including David Cameron
  • For pupils not receiving financial bursaries it can cost more than £30,000 a year to attend the school

Source: Eton College

It was recorded by its undercover investigators during the school half-term holiday on 27 October.

The League Against Cruel Sports has called on the school's headmaster to carry out an internal inquiry.

An Eton spokesman said: "Eton College takes its legal responsibilities extremely seriously and expects all school activities to comply with the law.

"We are investigating this allegation as a matter of urgency and will be co-operating fully with the relevant authorities."

In a statement, the North Yorkshire force said: "[We] received video footage from the League Against Cruel Sports on the morning of Tuesday 26 January 2016 relating to alleged illegal hunt activity in the Buttercrambe area and will be investigating the matter."

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