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Two members of the Fernie hunt staff have lost a court appeal against a conviction for unlawful hunting.

In January, huntsman Derek Hopkins and terrierman Kevin Allen were found guilty of illegally hunting a mammal with a dog and interfering with a badger sett.

At the appeal at Leicester Crown Court (10-14 October) the men said they had been trailhunting when they came across a fox and had permission from the landowner to shoot foxes on his land.

They said it went to ground in what they deemed an inactive badger sett.

Terriers were introduced to force the fox above ground to be shot.

But Judge Michael Pert ruled that their convictions should stand.

Court charges of £3,630 for Mr Hopkins and £2,730 for Mr Allen will be paid from the Fernie Hunt Appeal, a national fund-raising drive to fund the court action.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (20 October, 2011)