A group of hunt monitors have been given suspended sentences at Leicester Magistrates' Court after being convicted of public order offences.
The five men are part of a group that “target” hunts known as the "Stockport Monitors" and together they used "threatening behaviour" towards three victims including a 15-year-old girl.
The men, aged between 47 and 21, travelled to the Cottesmore Hunt in Oakham on 29th January this year. They were "extremely aggressive" and the victims felt "intimidated by their behaviour”.
It was claimed there had been “a dispute over a camera that may or may not have been taken lawfully”.
Paul Allman, Matthew Slater, Charley Waring, Reuben Waterhouse and Cameron Allman claimed they were there "to sabotage an illegal event" and while they were “aggressive” the court heard that none of the prosecutions were “for an offence of violence”.
For each of their three offences the men were given custody ranging from four to six weeks. Running consecutively that amounts to 12 to 18 weeks suspended for 12 months. Four of them were given 100 hours unpaid work to complete the other a three-month tagged curfew owing to poor health.
Responding to the sentencing the Countryside Alliance said: "While small in numbers, hunt saboteurs can be incredibly violent individuals that are a danger to law abiding citizens. Often disguised in balaclavas, they terrorise the countryside and are driven purely by a hatred of people rather than animal welfare.
"It can never be acceptable to disrupt or prevent lawful activity from taking place. It is right that these five men are held accountable for their appalling actions and we are pleased to see the law upheld today."
The Hunt Saboteurs Association said: "Although they're not one of our affiliated groups we are fully supportive of them and appreciate their efforts to protect both sabs and wildlife from violent hunters”.
The court heard that the men intend to appeal against their convictions.
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