Daniel Cherriman, huntsman of the South Shropshire Hunt, has pleaded guilty to hunting a wild mammal with dogs, contrary to the Hunting Act 2004.
The incident took place in November 2021 when National Trust members filmed the South Shropshire Hunt illegally hunting a fox and trespassing at Inwood, the Longmynd, Church Stretton, Shropshire which is owned by the National Trust. The video shows Cherriman encouraging his hounds onto a fox and then doing nothing to stop them when they hunt the animal. Cherriman pleaded guilty on the condition that charges were dropped against his whipper in Oliver Beasley who was also due to stand trial.
The trespass and illegal hunting took place less than a week after the National Trust board ratified the membership vote to ban “trail hunting” that was taken at the recent AGM. One of the reasons cited for the ban was “a loss of trust and confidence in the MFHA, which governs trail hunting”
The South Shropshire Hunt were previously banned from National Trust Land in 2018 due to allegations of illegal hunting and having terrier men on NT land in breach of their agreement.
Three other huntsmen were also due in court last week, all on charges of illegal hunting, but the cases have been adjourned. John Holiday, ex-huntsman of the Belvoir Hunt and Will Hanson, ex-huntsman of the Fernie hunt will both face trial in March next year. Puckeridge huntsman Arun Squire will stand trial in May next year where the court will see drone footage, gathered by hunt sabs, of his hounds killing a fox.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association stated: “The fact that four huntsmen were due to stand trial on illegal hunting charges in the same week is indicative of the widespread law breaking that is taking place by hunts across the country.
This is a particularly interesting case as it’s not clear whether the fox was killed by hounds but the fact that the huntsman didn’t call them off was enough for him to plead guilty. Hopefully this is a sign that courts are fed up with the widespread flouting of the law by hunts and are starting to apply the law more rigorously”.