Father and son deny deliberately hunting fox with hounds

Credit: PA

A father and son from the Jedforest Hunt have denied breaching Scotland's fox hunting legislation, after a video filmed by investigators showed a fox being dug out of a hole and then chased by a pack of hounds.

66-year-old John Clive Richardson and his son, 24-year-old Johnny Riley, have gone on trial accused of allowing the hounds to chase the fox ,which took place near Jedburgh in February 2016.

Jedburgh Sheriff Court was shown a video which had been filmed by an employee of the League Against Cruel Sports, which showed members of the Jedforest Hunt - including the two accused.

James Hood told Jedburgh Sheriff Court that while it was illegal to deliberately hunt a wild mammal with a dog there were some exceptions to that.

Commenting on the vide of the Jedforest Hunt, he said:

The footage shows the fox disappearing into a blind spot with the dogs still chasing, so what happened to the fox was not captured on film.

The court was told that lawyers acting for two huntsmen, intend to lead evidence saying that the dogs were flushing the fox towards a gunman who was in the blind spot, where the fox was then shot.

But Mr Hood - a retired police officer - said he could not hear any gunshots on the videos or any sign of gunmen.

He also visited the scene three weeks after the alleged offence and discovered the carcass of a fox in the dead ground area.

All that was remaining was a vertebrae and three legs intact and round the paws there was some red fur.

Mr Hood said a post-mortem was carried out on the carcass and there was no evidence that the fox had been shot.

But he agreed under cross-examination from defence lawyer, David McKie, that he could not say for certain that it was the same fox which the video had shown being pursued by the dogs.

The trial of the pair has been adjourned until next month.