Hound packs in Norfolk and Suffolk may not be able to start hunting before Christmas due to the outbreak of classical swine fever.

Although the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food lifted its restrictions on the Essex/Suffolk border last week, movement-restricted areas remain in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Packs affected are the West Norfolk and the Suffolk Foxhounds and the Dunston, Easton, North Norfolk and Waveney Harriers. All have stopped hunting voluntarily.

Sidney Harris,chairman of the Dunston Harriers, said it was unlikely that there would be any early morning hunting and that some packs would probably not be able to hunt before December. Others, like the Suffolk Foxhounds, may be able to hunt over a small area.

Classical swine fever is a notifiable disease and is easily transmittable ¨ spread by animals, birds, cars and people.

A fund has been set up to assist the farming community affected by the outbreak.

Information on the Addington Fund fromthe Rev Canon Sally Fogdon (tel: 01359 269265). For more information on swine fever, see www.maff.gov.uk.