Brian May backs hunt saboteurs in Suffolk over hares

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Image caption Hare coursing and hunting with dogs was made illegal in 2004

Rock star Brian May has said law and order "has broken down in Suffolk" after claims a hare was killed by hunting hounds.

May expressed his support for anti-hunting groups in a tweet.

The Norfolk/Suffolk Hunt Saboteurs claimed the Easton Harriers' hounds killed one of the animals in Suffolk.

The master of the hunt said he was not aware of a hare being killed and said they were acting legally in exercising their dogs and hunting rabbits.

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Image caption Queen guitarist Brian May (centre) at an anti-hunting rally outside the Houses of Parliament in 2015

The anti-hunting group posted information on its Facebook page which said it had tracked the Harriers near Great Glemham.

Aiden, a hunt monitor with the group who did not wish to give his surname, said: "They didn't lay a trail, they were flushing through fields and unfortunately, a hare was caught up in their activities."

More on this and other stories at BBC Local Live: Suffolk

May, guitarist with Queen, said in his tweet that it was "disgusting cruelty".

"Who allowed this to happen? Who will fight it in Suffolk?" he said.

Image caption Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Kearton said reports of hunting with dogs "will be taken seriously"

The Hunting Act 2004 outlawed hunting of hares, but continued to allow the hunting of rabbits.

Alun Thomas, master of Easton Harriers, said the saboteurs "intimidate people performing a legal pursuit".

"I've no knowledge of hounds killing a hare," he said.

"We always perform within the law and that means meeting, exercising hounds, rabbit hunting.

"If hounds do kill a hare - the fastest land animal in Britain - then the hare wouldn't have been going very well. It would have been lame or shot by a gamekeeper and [already] maimed."

Suffolk Police said it was investigating and had made 11 arrests this month at three separate suspected hare coursing incidents in Elmswell, Dalham and Wortham.

Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Kearton said: "We do positively investigate any reports and we do ask communities to provide us with as much information as they can and background intelligence and it will be taken seriously."

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