Dorset

Portman hunt master cleared of illegal fox hunting

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Media captionFootage of a "pack of hounds" seemingly chasing a fox

The master of a Dorset hunt has been found not guilty of fox hunting.

Evo Shirley, 27, from the Portman Hunt faced charges of hunting a wild mammal with dogs.

Magistrates in Poole had previously seen footage of a "pack of hounds" seemingly chasing a fox through a field with Mr Shirley on horseback in Shapwick in March 2017.

District Judge Stephen Nicholls said the court was "not satisfied" it showed Mr Shirley was hunting.

Following the verdict, Countryside Alliance's chief executive Tim Bonner said: "This is another case in which there was ample evidence that the hunt was operating legally."

Shaftesbury-based anti-hunt group Hounds Off said Dorset Police deserved "full credit" for investigating after seeing the group's footage "of what we believed was illegal foxhunting".

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