Celebrity cook Clarissa Dickson-Wright and successful racehorse trainer Sir Mark Prescott have been absolutely discharged after pleading guilty to hare coursing at Scarborough Magistrates Court.

The prosecution was brought by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) after the pair admitted attending an event organised by the Yorkshire Greyhound Field Trialling Club (YGFTC) on 2 and 3 March 2007.

The YGFTC believed the hare coursing event, carried out across two days in North Yorkshire at Nunnington and Amotherby, was legal as the greyhounds were muzzled.

John Cooper, prosecuting for the IFAW, said: “The dogs were muzzled but that does not stop the damage and harm to the wildlife they chase and harry, simply because they are muzzled.”

Neither Dickson-Wright nor Sir Mark appeared in court on 1 September.

An absolute discharge means that although they were guilty of the offence the judge decided not to fine them or award any costs against them.

Judge Harrison said she showed leniency to the defendents because at the time of the offence in March 2007 interpretation of the Hunting Act was unclear.

She said: “But if anyone should do something like this again they could be dealt with very harshly because it is quite clear now. I do not want anyone to be under any illusion they can get around what Parliament has set out.”

In July three times champion jump trainer Peter Easterby and Major John Shaw were found guilty of allowing the event to go ahead on their land but Judge Harrison also discharged them absolutely.

Dickson-Wright rose to fame as a celebrity TV chef as one of the Two Fat Ladies along with the now deceased Jennifer Paterson.

Brought up by her Australian heiress mother and doctor father, surgeon to the Royal family and who also had a drink problem, she’s lived a self-confessed colourful life.

Sir Mark Prescott has trained over 1,300 winners including Confidential Lady and Wizard King. His Heath House stables in Newmarket retains Seb Sanders, joint champion jockey in 2007.