Exclusive: Trail hunting suspended on Forestry England land

All trail hunting has been suspended on Forestry England land while the police investigate content of webinars hosted by The Hunting Office .

ITV News revealed yesterday that police are investigating the online meetings held by hunting’s governing body. It is being led by Devon & Cornwall Police working with the Crown Prosecution Service.

In a statement to ITV News, Forestry England said it has “suspended all licences for trail hunting in the nation’s forests. This is in response to confirmation that the police are investigating webinars hosted by the Hunting Office” .

Mike Seddon, Forestry England Chief Executive, said: “We are clear when we give people licences or permission for activities in the nation’s forests that they must behave legally and responsibly or risk losing the right to carry on.

“Once we had confirmation from the police that they were investigating activities involving the Hunting Office, we suspended all licences granted to organisations that delegate work to them. The Hunting Office is the central organisation which runs the administrative, advisory and supervisory functions of six Hunting Associations.

“We do not intend to make any further comments until the police have concluded their investigation.”

The Hunt Saboteurs Association said: “We're pleased that Forestry England are distancing themselves from hunts.

"They'll surely be the first of the licensing authorities to suspend hunting on their land and we look forward to others, including the National Trust, following suit. "Well done to local sab groups, particularly Weymouth animal rights, who have been lobbying the Forestry England since the webinar story broke two weeks ago. This must surely be the beginning of the end for hunting with hounds in the UK.”

A National Trust spokesperson said: “We are aware of videos circulating on social media showing two Hunting Office training webinars earlier this year. 

“We are currently reviewing what action we will take in relation to trail hunting on National Trust land."