An anti-hunt campaigner is facing a possible charge under new harassment laws after being arrested outside the home of a West Country master.

Aubrey Burge, 53, the leader of the hunt saboteurs around Pewsey Vale, was taking part in the latest chapter of a 12-month campaign against the Avon Vale hunt.

A Wiltshire police spokesman confirmed that Burge had been arrested on suspicion of causing harassment under the new Harassment Act, introduced last year to tackle offences connected with stalking.

The spokesman said Burge was arrested at the Avon Vale kennels, near Chippenham, on 24 September and released on bail.

The hunt welcomed the arrest, but the Hunt Saboteurs’ Association claimed it amounted to a wrongful application of the new laws.

The case, if it ends up in court, will set a new precedent on how far anti-hunt campaigners can go in their bid to gather evidence behind claims of illegal hunting.

The incident happened after police were called four times to the Avon Vale kennels — also home of the master Jonathon Seed.

Prior to his arrest, Burge was given two warnings by police. He is believed to have been seen photographing hunt staff and members of Seed’s family, including his wife and child.

A Countryside Alliance spokesman said Burge’s arrest sent a clear message that “such despicable behaviour would not be tolerated”.

  • This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (13 October, ’05)


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