Oxford

Ex-police boss says 'fox hunting very much alive'

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Media captionA video shows a man pulling a fox out of an underground tunnel

A former police chief says hunting is "still very much alive" after two men pulled a fox from a tunnel and released it "into the path of a hunt".

Martin Sims said the case of Ian Parkinson and Mark Vincent, "provided clear evidence that the Kimblewick Hunt is flouting the hunting ban".

The men, who were employed by the hunt, were convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a protect animal.

Kimblewick Hunt has refused to comment.

Mr Sims, who is now director of investigations at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "As this successful prosecution shows, the issue of fox hunting is still very much alive."

The former officer, who was head of the National Wildlife Crime Unit, added: "The future leaders of our country should be taking note and doing everything they can to ensure that the ban on hunting is upheld and further strengthened to prevent this type of barbaric activity ever happening again."

Parkinson, 65, and Vincent, 53, were found guilty by a district judge after a trail at Oxford Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Peter Rymon said the men had "clearly placed" the fox "in the path of a hunt at the time the hunt was arriving".

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The fox was pulled out by its tail as a hunt took place on New Year's Day

Covert footage showed one of the men using drainage rods to move the animal in a man-made tunnel and the other pull it out by its tail.

A pack of hounds involved in the New Year's Day hunt arrived in the woodland in Moreton near Thame moments later.

The Countryside Alliance, which promotes hunting, told the BBC there was "no justification for this type of activity".

"Hunts should be open and accountable whilst operating to the highest possible standards at all times," a spokesperson added.

Parkinson, of Lower Road, Haddenham, and Vincent, of Kimblewick, Aylesbury, were found guilty of one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

They will be sentenced on 26 November.

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