UPDATED: Hunt members found guilty of assaulting a saboteur during Great Thurlow hunt
Two members of the Thurlow Hunt have been convicted of offences in relation to an incident that took place during its Boxing Day hunt in 2017.
Huntsman Christopher Amatt, 58, of Attleton Green, Wickhambrook and Archie Clifton-Brown, 19, of Little Bradley, were both found guilty of their crimes after a three day trial before Suffolk Magistrates Court, held at Ipswich Crown Court.
Both pleaded not guilty to intentional hunting of a mammal with dogs, contrary to sec.1 of the Hunting Act 2004 and also to assault charges.
Amatt was found guilty of both charges, while Clifton-Brown was acquitted of the hunting charge but and found guilty of assault by beating.
Amatt was fined £150 for the hunting offence, £100 for the assault offence, and ordered to pay £600 costs and a £30 surcharge.
Clifton-Brown was fined £150 for the assault and ordered to pay £450 in costs and a £30 surcharge.
The incident had taken place in Great Thurlow on Boxing Day at around 2pm.
Police were called to reports of an incident between a hunt group containing Amatt and Clifton-Brown and a number of hunt monitors from the Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire Hunt Saboteurs Association and the North Cambs Hunt Sabs in Trundley Wood, off Bury Road.
A red fox was reported to have been pursued by a number of hunt hounds and killed after a brief chase.
Following this Steven Milton, a member of the hunt monitors was wrestled to the ground and assaulted by Clifton-Brown as they tussled over the dead fox. Mr Milton was not injured as a result.
Officers attended and launched an investigation into an alleged hunting offence under the Hunting Act 2004, and an allegation of assault.
Amatt and Clifton-Brown were subsequently summonsed to Ipswich Magistrates’ Court in July 2018 to be charged in connection with the incident.
Sergeant Brian Calver from the Rural Crime Team said after the trial: "The Hunting Act came into force in 2005 and as such, there’s no excuse for those involved in this pastime to carry out such acts.
"The legislation makes it quite clear what can and cannot be done and those involved have a duty to be conversant with the rules.
"The fact that Amatt has been found guilty of these crimes today sends out a clear message to those who actively commit offences against wildlife.
"Where sufficient credible evidence is available, we will investigate these matters and bring those to justice that feel they can cause harm to our wildlife, with no regards for the welfare of the animals involved.
"As a result of many factors, much of our flora and fauna is in decline or struggling to cope with the competing demands human beings place upon them and we need to do all we can to protect them.
"Humans can speak up for themselves, to report offences, but nature needs a voice and Wildlife Crime Officers are here to provide that by working closely with charities and other partners to protect our wildlife for generations to come.”