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Heythrop Hunt Found Guilty Of Illegal Fox Hunting In First Ever Corporate Conviction

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Heythrop Hunt Found Guilty Of Illegal Fox Hunting In First Ever Corporate Conviction

From League Against Cruel Sports
December 2012

This case demonstrates that, whether you live in a castle or a council house, you will be prosecuted if you don’t obey the law and abuse our wildlife.”

The League Against Cruel Sports congratulates independent hunt monitors and RSPCA for today’s successful prosecution of the Heythrop Hunt, thought to be the first where a hunt has faced corporate charges.

fox hunt fox hunting houndsMembers of the Oxfordshire-based Heythrop Hunt, which Prime Minister David Cameron has previously ridden with, today pleaded guilty to four charges of intentionally hunting a fox with dogs on land in the Cotswolds. 

This morning, Oxford Magistrates’ Court heard how independent monitors, some of whom are also associates of Protect Our Wild Animals (POWA), brought the footage, filmed on several occasions during November 2011 and February and March 2012 in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, to the attention of the RSPCA.

The Heythrop Hunt Ltd of Chipping Norton admitted a charge relating to hunting a wild mammal, namely a fox, with dogs contrary to Sections 1 and 10 of the Hunting Act 2004.

Hunt Master Richard Sumner and Huntsman Julian Barnfield of the Heythrop Hunt also pleaded guilty at Oxford Magistrates' Court today to charges brought by the RSPCA.

The prosecution said hounds had been encouraged to chase foxes - which is banned under the Hunting Act 2004 which came into force in 2005.

Barnfield was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs. Sumner was fined £1,800 and ordered to pay £2,500 costs and the Heythrop Hunt was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £15,000 costs. All three were ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge.

Both Sumner and Barnfield have since retired from their positions.


Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports comments: “One of the most respected and long standing hunts in the country, linked to the Prime Minster and the establishment, has admitted to conspiring to break the law to cruelly terrorise our wildlife. In the 21st century, everyone should obey the law, whoever you are. This case demonstrates that, whether you live in a castle or a council house, you will be prosecuted if you don’t obey the law and abuse our wildlife.”