A charge of unlawful hunting against Quantock Staghounds joint-master Brian Palmer was dropped last week (25 June) — due to a lack of evidence.

The case had been based on surveillance by the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS).

“I am of course relieved to be exonerated,” said Mr Palmer. “But being stalked by these self-appointed hunt monitors is very unpleasant, as are the repeated allegations against the hunt.”

Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance said he was “delighted” the Crown Prosecution Service had taken the “sensible decision [to drop the case] rather than wasting court time and public money”.

He added: “Of great concern to us is the continued unauthorised covert surveillance of private individuals, such as Mr Palmer, when they are on private land and undertaking totally lawful activities.”