Police investigate killing of fox at annual Fitzwilliam New Year’s Day Hunt

New Year's Day hunt at Wansford. John Mease with his eagle EMN-160101-160137009
New Year's Day hunt at Wansford. John Mease with his eagle EMN-160101-160137009
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A police investigation has been launched following the death of a fox during the annual Fitzwilliam New Year’s Day Hunt.

Officers were in attendance at the hunt, an annual event which starts in Wansford, in order to ensure there was no breach of the peace.

New Year's Day hunt at Wansford. EMN-160101-160226009

New Year's Day hunt at Wansford. EMN-160101-160226009

Once the hunt reached Elton, at about 2pm officers were made aware that a fox that had been killed and have since launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death.

Sergeant Dave Walker said: “We policed the event to ensure both the hunters and the saboteurs could carry out their activity peacefully.

“An investigation has been launched to establish whether the killing was lawful or not, and we have been speaking with a number of independent witnesses, as well as participants of the hunt and the saboteurs.

“We are taking this matter seriously and will conduct a thorough investigation to establish whether a crime has been committed.”

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Information about hunting and the law can be found here https://www.gov.uk/hunting.

The Hunt Saboteurs Association said its members had filmed the hunt and presented their footage to Cambridgeshire Police.

The organisations claims the fox was disembowelled and pronounced dead shortly after the alleged incident close to the River Nene.

Spokesman Lee Moon said: “New Year’s Day is one of the high-profile occasions in the hunting calendar.

“We look forward to a robust investigation by Cambridgeshire police.”

A spokesperson for the Fitzwilliam (Milton) Hunt said: “The Fitzwilliam (Milton) Hunt is aware of the press and other interest in an incident alleged to have occurred on 1st January 2016.

“It is not considered appropriate for the Hunt to comment further given that Cambridgeshire Police has stated its intention to conduct an investigation.”