HSA news release 5th January 2005
Arson attack on anti-hunt campaigner's van as wave of violence increases.
Simon Wright from Pulborough, W. Sussex was awoken at 4am on Mon 3rd January 2005 by an explosion at the garage of his 17th century house. He raced down to find his almost new Citroen diesel van engulfed in flames. The explosion and fire caused substantial damage to the vehicle,garden and nearby buildings. Several fire appliances attended the incident, and the area was cordoned off for a number of hours. The police are investigating the suspected arson attack.
Mr Wright actively campaigns against fox hunting and regularly monitors hunts in West Sussex. In 1998 his vehicle was damaged while he monitored the Crawley and Horsham Hunt. Two hunt masters were subsequently convicted, but later acquitted on appeal, for damaging his car. Mr Wright has had a catalogue of incidents while monitoring the Crawley and Horsham Hunt, including vandalism of his vehicle. He has recently made statements to police in connection with threatening behaviour from hunt followers. He was assaulted in 2001 at the Royal Oak Public House in Wineham by a hunt supporter, and recieved substantial damages from the assailant for criminal damages and assault.
Hunt Master of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt, Kim Richardson, was recently videoed telling anti hunt protesters: "You are all fair game now, I've told everybody".
A spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, Nathan Brown, said "With the recent increase in serious attacks on our members, and specifically Mr. Wright, I am in no doubt that a hunt supporter carried out this arson attack. It should be seen as part of an escalating wave of violence from the hunting fraternity."
Despite the serious violence being dished out to hunt saboteurs, Sussex police have withdrawn officers from policing hunts. In a meeting with local saboteurs yesterday at Lewes, senior officers revealed that they have told the hunts they will not be policing meets. The spokesperson continued "This is like a green light for the hunts to carry out attacks with impunity. The police do not seem to be taking violent attacks on hunt saboteurs as seriously as they do a saboteur blowing a hunting horn to disrupt a hunt.
"When you put this in the context of Sussex police's previous £100,000-a-year Operation Rook, which targetted hunt saboteurs, you begin to wonder who pulls the strings of Sussex Police."
Notes for Editors:
Contacts: Hunt Saboteurs Association: Nathan Brown 07815 313181
Timeline: the recent wave of violence against anti-hunt protestors since the Hunting Act was passed...
- 18 November 2004
Parliament passes Hunting Bill. Hunting to be illegal on 19th February.
- 20 November
3 saboteurs injured. One has to undergo emergency surgery to save his finger. South Devon Hunt, Devon
- 27 November
Saboteur receives 5 stitches to head wound after attack. High Peak Harriers, Derbyshire
17 year old saboteur receives broken nose after repeatedly headbutted. Crawley and Horsham Hunt, West Sussex
- 4 December
Saboteurs threatened by terrierman wearing balaclava. Numerous assaults on saboteurs including a broken nose. Essex Farmers and Union/East Essex Hunt, Essex
- 11 December
Saboteur's wrist broken in 2 places by terrierman. Essex Hunt, Essex Saboteur threatened by hunt supporter in front of police. High Peak Harriers, Derbyshire
- 18 December
Saboteur ridden over by hunt rider twice. Essex Farmers and Union Hunt, Essex.
Saboteurs punched and equipment stolen. Attempts made to smash saboteur's van window with log. Van whipped, kicked and thumped. Attempts made to drag saboteurs from van. Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt, Dorset.
- 24 December
2 cars smashed up and dead fox left on passenger seat of car. Chiddingfold Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt, West Sussex
- 27 December
Saboteurs threatened with knife. One ridden down. Hunt supporters then armed themselves with iron bars and sticks. Weston and Banwell Harriers, Somerset.
2 saboteurs rugby tackled to ground. Puckeridge Hunt, Suffolk.
- 31 December
12 hunt saboteurs injured by mob of 30 thugs. East Essex Hunt, Essex.
- 1 January 2005
Pregnant woman taken to hospital with head injuries after being whipped and ridden over twice by hunt staff. Essex Hunt, Essex.
- 3 January
Hunt monitor's car destroyed in arson attack. West Sussex
- 4 January
2 saboteurs receive facial injuries and equipment is stolen. Surrey Union Hunt, Surrey.
A.R.P. (Richard) Carden, High Sheriff of East Sussex 2001-2 was also a Master of Leicestershire's Quorn Hunt 1997-2003.