HSA News Release 21st August 2009
Derbyshire Police payout over £37,000 to Hunt Saboteurs
11 Hunt saboteurs from Yorkshire and the Midlands have each received over £3,000 after reaching an out-of-court settlement with the Derbyshire Constabulary following their wrongful arrest in January 2008.
The saboteurs were in attendance on the Meynall and South Staffordshire Fox Hunt when they were arrested under anti-trade union legislation after the police deployed the force helicoptor and dog units. They were held unlawfully for 24 hrs and the 11 were on police bail for several months. As part of the settlement DNA and finerprint evidence is in the process of being removed from police databases.
Hunt Saboteurs were attending the fox hunt in January of last year in order to gain evidence of illegal hunt activities after being tipped off by a member of the public. Fox hunting with hounds was made illegal by parliament in February 2005. However, the Hunting Act has several important loopholes that result in fox hunts around the country continue to chase, torture and kill british wildlife with apparent impunity, whether legally or otherwise. With precious few successful prosecutions and little enthusiasm from the police for enforcing the ban, hunt saboteurs around the country are increasingly the only thing standing between illegal hunters and their quarry.
Sarah Lloyd, from Nottingham, who was one of those arrested said:
I am very pleased with the outcome of our claim. Although the compensation in no way exonerates the police, I hope that they have learnt from their actions. Hunting with hounds is illegal though many hunts are exploiting loopholes in the law to pursue their slaughter in the name of sport. As Hunt Saboteurs we will always intervene using non-violent tactics to save the lives of hunted animals and we will never be deterred by the threat of heavy-handed policing.
The cub-hunting season, where young foxes are targeted in order to help train new hounds, begins in earnest later this month, and until the spring of next year protected animals will be hunted and killed by fox hunts up and down the country in violation of the law.