Wiltshire police investigating reported violence at Boxing Day hunt

LACOCK HUNT STILL FOR WEB / Credit: Matthew Stephen
Protesters and hunt enthusiasts appeared to clash in Lacock on Monday. Credit: Matthew Stephen

Wiltshire Police has confirmed it is investigating after reports of violence at the annual Avon Vale Boxing Day hunt event near Chippenham.

Videos began surfacing on social media channels appearing to show physical altercations between those involved in the hunt and protesters.

The event is listed as a trail hunt - where hounds follow the trail of a scent that has been distributed for them to follow.

Trail hunting replaced the more traditional fox hunt after the Hunting Act was brought into law in 2004 - making it illegal to hunt wild animals with dogs.

Protesters and hunt saboteurs continue to disrupt hunting events after recent accusations which call trail hunting a 'smoke screen'.

There is currently no evidence to suggest the hunt in Lacock was unlawful.

Wiltshire police says "extensive enquiries" are ongoing into the unrest on Monday.

In a statement a spokesperson said: “Officers are currently conducting extensive enquiries to identify those involved in the incident in Lacock on Monday.

“At this stage no arrests have been made but our investigation is continuing.

"We have since received a number of calls from members of the public with information in relation to the incident and we would urge anyone who can help to call 101 and quote log number 96 of December 27.”

The reported violence broke out on Monday. Credit: Matthew Stephen

In addition to the police investigation, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) has confirmed it has received correspondence from the public with regards to the conduct of Wiltshire Police during the incident in Lacock.

An OPCC spokesperson said: “We are aware of an incident between Avon Valley Hunt members and hunt protestors which took place in Lacock on 27 December.

“Any correspondence received about the conduct of Wiltshire Police relating to this incident is in the process of being assessed by the OPCC complaints team. This ensures investigative independence and oversight. 

“All correspondence will be handled in a fair, open and honest way and will be handled as efficiently as possible, with correspondents being advised of the outcome. Should a legally eligible complaint be confirmed as made then the official complaints process will be followed.”