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John Cook, terrierman of the Lauderdale Hunt, has been cleared of an offence under the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002.

He faced the prospect of becoming the first person to be convicted under Scotland’s anti-foxhunting laws, but was cleared on 5 August of releasing a fox from a sack in front of a pack of hounds.

Witnesses failed to identify whoever was alleged to have released the mammal, and all charges were dropped.

A spokesman from the Scottish Countryside Alliance said: “I think this was an unfortunate case in that the witnesses were genuinely mistaken at what they saw, in that it was not a fox and Mr Cook was not in charge of the hunt.”

First published in H&H magazine 28 August 2014