At the meet senior master Mike Smith, currently being investigated for assaulting one of our sabs in October, made up some cock and bull story about “trails being laid”… less than half an hour later they were hunting a fox through a sheep field. Sabs were on hand to assist the fox.
Moving on and at Brawn Farm a fox had escaped into a large pile of tyres. The quad, driven by terrierman Ben Hughes, came past the 3C sab car at full speed and into the farm, where the terriermen then proceeded to evict the fox to be hunted again. Bristol sabs tried to stop the hounds when the fox broke from his refuge but were then grabbed, dragged and had 2 cameras stolen.
We left the area and tried to catch up with the pack. As a 999 call was in progress and we slowed hounds down near Mussell End, Gary Williams came hurtling along the road and whipped our sab driver.
Police attended quickly but the hunt had scarpered by then. We found them eventually as they were hunting a fox through Sandhurst village and put a stop to that by rating them back… but they picked up on the line again.
Gary William’s dulcet tones threatening armageddon and doom could be heard as he tried to continue hunting. We were then blocked in by some morons in a large horsebox. The day ended by Gary whipping our car in frustration.
*** Sab forced into vehicle by Heythrop Hunt staff ***
Astonishing footage. Well done Zac, an independent sab who works alongside us; story shared with his permission.
Obviously the Heythrop should really have learned from the 2012 conviction but they are still illegally hunting, still blocking badger setts and now forcing local people into hunt vehicles! It’s kidnap and should have been taken seriously…
So I was kidnapped.
Some of you will know this story already, however, I had not publicised it yet because it was an open police investigation and I was advised not to. The investigation has now been closed due to “insufficient evidence” and so I have decided to finally share what happened.
As some will know, in the UK it is traditional for fox hunt groups to go out on Boxing Day. Since fox hunting is illegal, they claim to be following a pre-laid trail and not chasing actual foxes, but multiple times this has been proven to be a lie. I am openly anti-fox-hunting, as I believe it to be barbaric and cruel. I also have many friends who are hunt saboteurs, they are lovely people who just want to protect innocent wildlife.
In my parent’s hometown, there is a rather large hunt, and a large amount of the local community (larger than in most communities) support the hunt. The hunt meets in the town centre, they all get drunk, and then ride out to terrorise the local wildlife. This is no secret. In fact, if you google Charles Frampton (leader of the Heythrop Hunt) half the images that come up are him drinking on his horse at hunt meets.
I went up to the town centre to protest the hunt meet with a few activist friends in the morning. There were four or five of us in total (including me and my sister), and what looked to close to a hundred riders and double that in support. We spoke to some journalists, took some pictures, and watched Frampton and the other riders drinking worrying amounts of alcohol (considering that being drunk and in charge of a horse is illegal in the UK). The alcohol was provided for free by the local pub “The Fox”.
After the hunt rode out from the town centre, my activist friends and I decided to head home. Many activists choose to follow hunts to gather evidence of illegal hunting and try and protect wildlife but we agreed that this would be dangerous considering how outnumbered we were. We noticed, however, as we exited the town centre, that we were being followed by a large man on a radio literally repeating our movements. Two of our group were new to anti-hunt protests and had heard how aggressive hunters and their support can get, so were nervous, so I told them to break away, run and we’d regroup. Then me and my sister started running. The man followed us down the road, and I got my camera out and filmed over my shoulder. As soon as he saw the camera he slowed down and we were able to get away.
Once I had made sure all the other activists had gotten home safe, I decided to go out for a bike ride, get some exercise, and if I did happen to see any signs of illegal hunting then I could report that to the police. Just outside of Chipping Norton, I heard the hounds go into cry (this means they have picked up a scent and are giving chase). I hopped off my bike, locked it to a fence and peered into the woods.
Within minutes I saw the pack of hounds going after a fox. I started filming and chased after them, trying and failing to call the pack of hounds off. I followed into the woods, but could not move as quickly as the hounds and lost sight of them. As I followed in the direction the hounds had gone, I saw two riders coming towards me on what looked like a public bridleway. The closer of the two riders was the master of the hunt, Charles Frampton.
“What are you doing?” Frampton asked.
In the moment, I saw no reason to lie. I now wish I had.
“I am filming your hounds going after foxes as evidence for the police.”
Frampton’s attitude immediately changed and became hostile. He rode as close to me as he could without physically touching me.
“Excuse me!” he said. “You are on private land. You’re trespassing, we’re calling the police.”
“Yes.” I replied. “I am trespassing because you are illegally hunting. I am trying to prevent a crime.”
As a paralegal, I was aware that trespass is a civil offence, not a criminal one, whereas fox hunting is a criminal offence. Committing a civil offence such as a trespass can be justified if it is done to prevent a criminal offence.
Frampton didn’t seem to like this answer. At this point, he rode his horse directly into me, bashing my shoulder.
“What gives you the right!” he yelled repetitively as he bumped his horse into me. He also began to swear.
At this point I realised I was in danger. I looked about and saw several hunt support approaching from the left and right, some in balaclavas. Frampton and I exchanged some heated words, and he told me to get back to the footpath, swearing and riding into me more. I backed away, but the hunt support were directly behind me now, so I had nowhere to go.
“Get your fucking arse out of here now!” Frampton yelled at me, riding into me more forcefully this time
“Okay.” I said, giving in and trying to get by. “I’m going back to the footpath.”
Now bear in mind they were telling me to leave, but blocking my way. At this point a land rover pulled up and more hunt support got out.
“Better yet,” Frampton said, his tone still aggressive, steering his horse to block my way to the footpath I had come from through the woods. “We’ll give you a lift.”
It’s worth noting the public footpath (labelled as such) was barely 100 feet away. Walking would have been just as quick as getting in a car and driving.
“No, I would rather walk.” I replied, trying to get around the horse. The hunt support blocked my path and Frampton veered his horse into my way, bumping into me again.
“NO, YOU FUCKING GET IN THERE NOW!” he yelled at me.
Behind me, a large man in a balaclava (one of the support) shoved me hard towards the land rover. Someone got out of the passenger side door and I was pushed again so that I was backed against the passenger side of the car. The driver (a woman) was yelling something at me but I couldn’t make out what as I was focused on Frampton and the thugs around me. I was pushed into the passenger side seat of the land rover and the door was slammed shut behind me. The back of the land rover was occupied by barking dogs, and it was just me and the driver inside. Once inside the car I realised the driver was accusing me of lying and saying there were no foxes and that I was making it all up. Outside, there were multiple hunt supporters and terriermen and riders, and many of the support and terriermen were covering their faces. No one seemed to object to what was happening. Since Frampton was out there and at this point I was afraid of what he might do, getting out of the land rover seemed riskier than staying in it. The woman driving seemed like far less of a threat, so I let her start the engine. She drove a hundred feet around the corner, yelling at me the whole time about how they were going to call the police and have me charged with trespassing, then she started accusing me of being intimidating to her.
“We’re on public land now, you have to let me go.” I point out.
“No we aren’t!” she says, and continues driving.
“Yes, we are!” I say firmly, pointing at the footpath and the signs indicating that it is public. The car is forced to come to a stop at a junction just beyond the footpath, and a family out for a boxing day walk in the woods is staring at us as we argue and I try and open the door (which is locked, obviously). The driver gets ready to pull away, but I get the lock up and open the door and just throw myself out as she yells “GET OUT MY CAR, I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU!” (which was bizarre, to say the least. I never wanted to be in there in the first place, lady).
The family rushed over to me and asked if I was okay, to which I reply “no.” and stand for a moment as I attempt to calm myself down.
“Do you need us to call anyone?” the mother asks. I shook my head. I’m not ashamed to say I was fighting back tears at this point and talking was difficult. I have anxiety, and to be honest I’d challenge anyone even if they didn’t have anxiety to remain unshaken by such a situation.
I doubled back to where I had locked up my bike and cycled home. On the walk to collect my bike I realised that my camera, which was attached to the strap around my neck, had been filming. The camera has a touch screen and all the buttons on the back, so each time I moved and it bumped into me, the buttons had been pressed, including the record button. It had also pressed various other settings buttons, changing contrast, brightness, etc. but the most important point was that I had evidence. I had been outnumbered and alone so reporting would have been pointless, but with video evidence I had proof of what had happened.
I decided I wanted to just move past it, but when I told my friends and family what happened, they said “it sounds like you were kidnapped.” I said I didn’t want to use that word as it sounded overly dramatic, but multiple people pointed out that it fitted the definition of a kidnapping and convinced me to inform the police.
I contacted the police, still hesitant to use the word kidnapping, but the call operator says from what she can hear, it sounds like kidnapping is the appropriate word. An officer came to meet me, and I provided my statement and the videos, as well as the number plate of the car I was forced into. the driver of the car was identified and asked to come into the station for an interview. From what I was told, it seems she told the police that she had just been told to escort someone off private land and had done so, and had no idea I was being forced against my will. Frampton was not made to come into the station or give a statement. The hunt were contacted for a statement and said they “could not recall” who had been present. The driver also said she “could not recall” which members of support had been there. I was told the matter was being closed due to insufficient evidence. I asked why Frampton had not been made to give a statement, but the officer refused to answer any more questions and said he considered the matter closed.
Since the investigation is now officially closed, and I only held off on sharing my story because I was advised not to talk publicly about an open investigation, I see no issue with showing the video and letting everyone know what happened. Feel free to share my story. This is not an isolated incident. Although kidnapping is a new one for the hunt, hunt groups frequently assault and harass people, smash up car windows, slash tyres, burn and break property, recklessly ride and hunt while drunk, and illegally hunt wildlife. The police frequently fail to prosecute, and the only way to stop them from getting away with this is to support local Hunt Saboteur and Hunt Monitor groups and call for a stricter ban on fox hunting, tightening up the rules to leave no loop-holes, and ban trail hunting.
*** several blocked setts around Heythrop meet * hunt trespassed into Chipping Norton sewage works ***
Saturday 9th March 2019 Heythrop Hunt Sarsden
3C sab’ and independent sabs/monitors…
We found 3 blocked setts as we arrived in the area of Oxfordshire that the Heythrop met in today. Local villagers had already found and reported others to Thames Valley Police.
All in all it was blatant fox hunting around Sarsden, Churchill and Cornwell until around 6pm. We are not quite sure what they were all doing in the out-of-bounds Chipping Norton Sewage Works near Cornwell Hill Farm but we suspect it did not involve anything good. Obviously not a trail there… Good to note that foxes often run over smelly things to evade hounds so manure heaps, past bonfires, through sheep etc etc.
*** fox hunted across busy B-road by Ledbury Hunt ***
Friday 8th March 2019 Ledbury Hunt Hunter’s Inn, Buckbury
Last Friday meet of the season! The hunt were found hunting a fox right near the pub and across the B4211. Then it was the usual draw around the Forthampton Estate. A fox was hunted around Voulter’s wood with intervention from sabs slowing down the pack.
Also yesterday BBC Hereford and Worcester broadcast a discussion / debate about hunting between one of our sabs and ‘Dan’, who works in hunt service.
… it starts 20 minutes in and is heard throughout the programme.
We are getting near the end of the season here now – phew! Please continue to support what we do. The info, donations and sharing of posts is amazing. We have just reached 18,000 likes this week and are coming up to around 100 days out at hunt meets (not including days out fighting the cull or sett surveying!
Tuesday 5th March 2019 Cotswold vale Farmer’s Hunt Norton
Car still poorly but the buses were running so this meet was attended thus. Not much happened until they hunted through Prior’s Grove and Barrow Wood and it sounded as though that fox went to ground and they left him to carry on hunting.
Later at the back of Benge’s Farm the pack rioted on deer. There was no whipper-in where there should have been and so a sab’ interceded and stopped the hounds before they were eventually called back.
Yesterday was spent with Cirencester Illegal Huntwatch at the Beaufort meet, Chavenage. They write really good reports so we will just share that when it comes
Please continue to support us by keeping the information coming in and if you like what we do and can afford to help us financially our paypal link is paypal.me/threecountiessabs.
*** 3 blocked setts at the Worcestershire hunt ***
Saturday 2nd March 2019 Worcestershire Hunt Lower Bentley Farm Near Redditch
The car is poorly but the buses still run, and kindly folk give lifts and so one of us turned up to keep an eye on the Worcestershire hunt in an area of concern – we have been told that setts in the general area are at risk.
Huntsman Roderick Wilson was seen drawing a covert near to the meet; sure enough a freshly blocked sett with quad bike tracks next to it was found! Another 2 setts were also found to be blocked during the meet. A very healthy latrine found in a very strange shape.
All documented, passed on to local badger groups and West Mercia police informed of the breaches of the 1992 Badger Act, all of which are criminal offences in their own right and evidential re: the fact that the Worcestershire are hunting foxes and breaching the Hunting Act too.
The entire field were addressed regarding “unwelcome guests” and to mind their Ps and Qs. They then ran away… all in all as though they were a bit nervous about being caught out. Many miles covered today – around 12 on foot.
Friday 1st March 2019 Ledbury Hunt Stonebow Farm Ashleworth
They came out of the back of the farm and up Barrow Hill drawing some rough patch first. One whipper in was making lots of noise making sure that a fox did not break covert near the sab’ filming. The fox headed north with the hounds in full cry after him. 5 minutes later he was seen coming back to where they had found him.
With no hounds in sight his line was sprayed generously with citronella until 2-3 minutes later the pack was heard bang on his line… until they were rated and got to where the citronella was sprayed where they stopped, befuddled.
Mark, the huntsman, was on the other side of the fence and seemingly allowing hounds to cast themselves at this check. A few voice calls lifted their heads and so he gathered them and took them away back to where the fox was heading. Down the hill. Back again. Re-drew where he first found the fox. But to no avail.
After this disappointment they went to Corse Hill, Corse Grove, over to Tirley and Haw Bridge (again they were only there last week!) and through the water meadows at Ashleworth finishing at 5pm.
No badger setts that were checked found to be blocked Between our sett-blocking patrols and police having stern words with hunts and landowners we’ve had a huge impact on the hunts!
If you like what we do please like our page and share our posts. If you can afford to do so and want to support us financially our paypal link is paypal.me/threecountiessabs
*** blocked sett at Ledbury Hunt meet * suspected bagged fox released to be hunted ***
Friday 22nd February 2019 Ledbury Hunt Forthampton
First of all pre-hunt checks revealed one blocked sett which was attended by Gloucestershire police officers who were out keeping an eye on the hunt.
An enormous meet followed with lots and lots of Irish visitors, no doubt here for the Golden Button challenge on Saturday 23rd Feb. Lots of people falling off and ambulances… our first aid skills were not required we are glad to say.
They hunted around Sarn Hill and Forthampton Court. Later at Chaceley as the Irish contingent lined a bank, the terriermen were seen rushing around suspiciously. Soon a fox was seen running for his life and doing what hunted foxes do – run through livestock, in this case sheep and a pony, to hide his scent. Field sab’ waited quietly for him to pass before running in, spraying and rating the hounds off of his line, sucessfully as it happened.
Car sab’ witnessed the poor creature trying to get through a fence running up and down it, almost as though this fox did not know the territory… Huntsman Mark Melladay arrived and continued to encourage hs hounds after the fox and later he put them in through a pile of old tin and rubbish… hmmm – funny old trail that!
They then went to Haw Bridge but found nought there. Pack up by 16.30
30th January 2019… hunt staff and hounds from the Bicester with Whaddon Chase came down to the North Cotswold Hunt’s country to hunt for the day alongside a handful of North Cots riders and supporters. Sabs had been out on foot with them all day when another was driving back from work and detoured through the area.
Hunt supporters didn’t recognise her at first and the supporter in this video shouted “Tally Ho” and pointed to indicate to hunt staff that he had seen a fox. Hounds were drawing through the wood to the right of the road and the fox had run across to the wood on the left. The rider, who was on point at a corner of the woods, rode up towards other hunt staff to alert them.
The sab followed and covered the line of the fox with a citronella spray – the rider told her that he had gone to stop the hounds from following the fox (but he did nothing when hounds were speaking within the trees and he didn’t even slow down traffic). The hunt supporter’s wife told us that they had been pointing out deer crossing the road because they thought ‘it was interesting’… sheltered life or blatant lie?
After some discussion, hunt staff decided that ‘trails had been laid’ at some point sometime earlier in the day somewhere in the area and that they would take hounds round to try and pick up on the scent (of the fox) anyway. The fox had been given a good few minutes to make his escape by this point.
Very cocky behaviour considering hunt supporters and hunt staff knew that sabs were nearby, but it shows the arrogance (and stupidity) of the hunts…
If you support what we do, please like and share our posts and page and if you have a spare couple of quid we can use towards our fuel costs please chuck ’em our way via paypal.me/threecountiessabs
*** North Cotswold Hunt actually hunting their own country * hounds mark to ground in active badger sett * presence of sabs prevents dig-out ***
North Cotswold Hunt 20th February 2019 Honeybourne / Weston Subedge area
The hunt met near Long Stretch Farm near Honeybourne. The meet was smaller than usual, but for the first time in weeks it was actually the North Cotswold pack – recently we’ve seen / heard reports of the Oakley, Bicester, Crawley and Horsham, United Pack and probably others coming into the area to hunt the country with their own hounds and only a handful of North Cots regular riders. Any info. on why this might be would be greatly appreciated!
The hunt moved off just after 11am and headed to a nearby (old) railway line where we know them to pick up on the scent of foxes when they hunt the area. Sure enough, one fox was scared out of hiding and towards the pack by a hunt member who was lurking on the line with his quad bike… hounds noticed the fox, but luckily for him they continued searching for scent instead of giving chase – we’ve heard rumours that huntsman Ollie has no idea what he’s doing and how to train hounds, but it’s a first for us watching fox and hounds look at each other from only a hundred or so yards away and for hounds to not even speak to him.
This doesn’t mean that they can’t or won’t kill or give chase, as we have seen plenty of times this season, and hounds did speak briefly on the scent of a second fox who we spotted just moments later on the railway line. They were easy to rate (tell off) and huntsman took them out of the area due to sab presence shortly after, despite attempts by supporters to point out the location of the foxes and alert huntsman with shouts of “gone away”.
Other supporters seemed more interested in commenting on how “fit” they thought sabs were, sadly with female riders finding the sexist and misogynistic comments amusing. One of our sabs asked a female rider why she was filming her standing still on a footpath and a male rider replied that the sab was being filmed for him… “it’s for me. It’s your ass”.
The hunt carried on down to Weston Subedge, then back up through the land and towards Norton Hall. Another sab had joined us by this time and dropped one of us inland as hounds could be heard marking to ground (indicating that a hunted fox has sought shelter underground). As she got closer, it was obvious that they were marking at an active badger sett, terriermen and someone claiming to be a landowner all standing by as hounds moved on.
With a second foot sab descending on the group just seconds later (despite being reversed at by a hunt supporter in a pick-up with reg. number J8 NHW), terriermen finally chose to leave the area and therefore leave the fox and the sett alone. Sabs checked on the sett again later in the day to ensure it was untampered with and further checks will be done tomorrow to ensure no one went back to it.
The hunt continued to hunt through the area, heading near to a large woodland, but decided to just draw a few smaller coverts and hedgelines before heading back to the meet and packing up not long after 3pm… very unusual – even if Ollie has finally figured out that hunting and trying to find hounds in the dark is a bad idea, he packed up well before dark with very few hunt supporters looking like they’d enjoyed their day!
A bit of trespass, marking to ground, riding non-road-legal quad bikes which stink of fox, some push and shove and some riding at sabs… all in a normal day out for the North Cotswold Hunt.
If you like what we do, please support us by sharing and liking out posts and page and financially, if possible, via paypal.me/threecountiessabs or our recent ‘fuel fundraiser’ (link posted in comments below).
Please also let us know if you recognise any of the people in the video – landowner, terriermen and other quad bike rider. Thank you!