Investigation into attack that left huntsman unconscious dropped

  • An investigation into an attack on Tedworth joint master and huntsman Mike Lane has been dropped by the police.

    Mr Lane was left with two fractured teeth and concussion following a clash between hunt saboteurs and members of the Tedworth on 24 January.

    He claims he was kicked in the head by saboteurs when hounds were boxing up at the end of the day in Wiltshire.

    There were reportedly around six hunt saboteurs present at the time of the incident.

    Anti-hunt protestors wearing balaclavas and face masks, in two vehicles that have been reported to be associated with Bristol and Southampton hunt saboteur groups, had been present all day.

    During the incident, where hunt supporters requested the saboteurs leave the property because hounds were going home, Mr Lane slipped over and was kicked while laying on the ground.

    He was knocked unconscious and an ambulance was called. He was treated at a local hospital.

    “It is a great disappointment to us and to Mike that Wiltshire Police have not been able to bring his attackers to book yet. We urge anyone who has information about those responsible to come forward,” Tim Bonner, director of campaigns for the Countryside Alliance (CA), told H&H.

    “The fact that the law on face coverings is so unwieldy is an incitement to violence. These anti-hunting thugs are carrying out attacks with impunity knowing they can hide behind their balaclavas and will not be brought to book.

    “There have been at least three vicious attacks in recent years where those responsible could not be identified. The police need to look very closely at this issue and we believe their needs to be a change in the law to allow police officers to unmask these violent criminals.”

    Earlier this year the CA urged hunts to remain “calm and vigilant” and to write to their local police, crime commissioners and MPs about masked animal rights activists.

    The police do have powers to order the removal of face coverings, but they are not straightforward.

    “Because the process is complicated, we believe police forces should be prepared to deploy these powers when animal rights extremists appear in their areas,” added Mr Bonner.

    “Where police forces are prepared to use these powers, we believe that the likelihood of intimidation and public disorder is reduced.”

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