A huntsman has pleaded guilty to criminal damage after smashing the car window of a hunt saboteur.

Michael Gerald Nicholson, 40, of Coniston Foxhounds, broke the window of the Ford Escort with an umbrella while three saboteurs were inside.

Driver Dean Cain suffered a minor cut to his face. Mr Nicholson was arrested and interviewed.

Appearing before South Lakeland Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 19 February Mr Nicholson was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £150 in compensation to Mr Cain, plus costs of £58.

The court heard how the saboteurs met in Grasmere, Cumbria, on the morning of 10 January to monitor Coniston Foxhounds with the intention to film any illegal activity.

When the planned hunt meet was cancelled due to bad weather they headed to Coniston Foxhounds Kennels.

They were spotted on Nook Lane by Mr Nicholson who, having seen the saboteurs earlier at Grasmere, said he was worried for the safety of the hounds and struck out.

Defending, Mr Gareth James, told the court that Mr Nicholson is a man of good character with no previous convictions.

Mr Nicholson, of Nook Lane, Ambleside, admitted he acted recklessly and his behaviour was unacceptable.

Presiding magistrate Mrs Margaret Stamper said: “We feel that because of your good character we can make a conditional discharge of 12 months for criminal damage.”