A hunt saboteur has been convicted of causing a breach of the peace on two occasions while following the Fife Hunt.
Kevin Newell, 33, received a 90-hour community payback order at Dundee Sheriff Court last Thursday (21 July).
The court ruled that Newell caused alarm and distress to those legally participating in the hunts in north-east Fife in November 2015 by following the hunting pack, behaving in an intimidating manner with his face covered with a snood or balaclava.
Detective Inspector Colin Robson said: “We understand that fox hunting is an emotive issue that can be very divisive, however this is no excuse for any offence being committed.
“We police hunts in Fife to ensure the safety of everyone participating in or observing the events, and to ensure they take place legally. This applies equally to those who oppose hunting and those in the pack taking part.
“There is a right to peacefully and lawfully protest in a public place and a procedure for legally hunting with dogs. In this case, Newell’s behaviour was unacceptable and it should send a clear message to anyone intending to disrupt a hunt in this way that we will take action.”
Clarinda Foster, a joint-master of the Fife, told H&H: “We have been experiencing ever-increasing threatening and intimidating behaviour by activists over the past couple of years.
“This has been a long process with many witnesses giving statements to the police and being cross-examined in court, however the result has made all the effort worthwhile.
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Tim Easby, director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, welcomed the news, saying there is “no place in society for those who attempt to disrupt legal activities”.
He told H&H: “It is very important that hunts continue to report anti-social, illegal and disruptive behaviour — it’s only by making official complaints that these people will be brought to account.”