Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Activist 'intimidated' fox hunt supporters in Fife

Kevin Newell Image copyright Kingdom News Agency

An animal rights activist who followed Fife fox hunts with other saboteurs wearing "paramilitary" clothing with their faces covered by balaclavas has been given a community payback order.

Kevin Newell was given 90 hours unpaid work following incidents on 14 and 21 November 2015 in north east Fife.

Newell, 33, from Aberdeen, was found guilty after trial of behaving in a threatening and abusive manner.

He was sentenced at Dundee Sheriff Court.

Police said Newell had followed the hunt pack and behaved in an "intimidating" manner.

Defence solicitor Paul Parker Smith said the case could have been dealt with through a financial penalty.

But imposing a community payback order on Newell, Sheriff George Way said: "People would have seen him and wouldn't have known what was going on".

'Emotive issue'

Det Insp Colin Robson, of Police Scotland, said: "We understand that fox hunting is an emotive issue that can be very divisive, however this is no excuse for any offence being committed.

"We police hunts in Fife to ensure the safety of everyone participating in or observing the events, and to ensure they take place legally.

"This applies equally to those who oppose hunting and those in the pack taking part.

"There is a right to peacefully and lawfully protest in a public place and a procedure for legally hunting with dogs.

"In this case, Newell's behaviour was unacceptable and it should send a clear message to anyone intending to disrupt a hunt in this way that we will take action."

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