Police investigation following “assault” during hunt Meet in Meonstoke

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Police are investigating after a member of the public was allegedly assaulted during an altercation during a hunt meet in Meonstoke on Monday.

It was reported that two anti-hunt protestors who were monitoring the event in a car in Stocks Lane were blocked by four quad bikes and two land rovers.

It’s claimed a hunt supporter wearing a baseball cap and mask then allegedly punched the passenger side window smashing the glass then assaulted the passenger before trying to pull down their mask to photograph them with other supporters cheering him on.

After the incident he reportedly raised both hands in the air and was cheered by other supporters who had been following the Hursley Hambledon Hunt.

A spokesperson For Hampshire Police said: “We were called out at 2.07pm on Monday December 27th following reports of an assault and criminal damage on Stocks Lane in Meonstoke.

“It comes after members of a hunt group were involved in an altercation with a small group of members of the public. A person was assaulted, albeit no injuries were reported, and attempts were made to steal a two-way radio.

“Officers were deployed to the scene and police enquiries remain ongoing to identify those responsible. No arrests have been made.”

The incident came as leading animal welfare charity The League Against Cruel Sports renewed it call for an end to hunting on public land.

The charity says that hunts claim to follow animal-based scent rather than chase foxes and other wild animals, but the conviction of Mark Hankinson, a senior hunting official, for ‘encouraging or assisting others to break the Hunting Act 2004’ showed very publicly that trail hunting is a “smokescreen” for old fashioned illegal hunting.

Chris Luffingham, director of external affairs at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “We know, and it has been found in court, that hunters use the excuse of so-called trail hunting to carry on as they always have.

“Their breathtaking arrogance in thinking the rules simply don’t apply to them cannot be tolerated by the general public any longer, who are getting very adept at seeing through the pathetic smokescreen of half truths and lies.

“Enough is enough. We have been told that specific government departments are responsible for how they manage their land, and therefore we call upon the Defence Infrastructure Organisation to end the issuing of trail hunting licences on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.

“Similarly, we urge Forestry England to make their suspension of licences permanent, following the likes of the National Trust, Natural Resources Wales, national parks and local councils who have all seen past the smokescreen and understand trail hunting is simply old-fashioned illegal hunting by another name.”

A number of other major landowners, such as United Utilities, suspended trail hunting licences following the arrest of Mark Hankinson, then a director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association. Despite his conviction at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in October, those suspensions have not yet been made permanent.

Chris added: “It’s time all major landowners permanently banned trail hunting on their land and that the government strengthens the Hunting Act to ensure its loopholes can no longer be exploited.”

Photos: Main library image: League Against Cruel Sports, Inset: South Hampshire Hunt Saboteurs

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