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Last Updated: Monday, 1 September, 2003, 19:13 GMT 20:13 UK
Huntsman's fears over arson attack
A huntsman at the centre of a row over allegations of illegal hunting has claimed his home has been targeted by protesters.

Rory Innes, 26, was summonsed in August to appear in a Scottish court to face a charge of hunting a fox with dogs.

But a day after a newspaper revealed Mr Innes had moved jobs to work as master and huntsman of the South Dorset Hunt his property was targeted by arsonists.

At 0330 BST on Saturday, Mr Innes and his girlfriend were awoken by the smell of smoke coming from downstairs at his home at the South Dorset Hunt kennels in Bere Regis.

Police investigation

As he opened the kitchen door, he found hunting gear had also been set on fire.

He said: "You don't expect to have someone burn the house down. It's all a bit of a shock really."

A spokesman for the Scottish Countryside Alliance (SCA) said the allegations facing Mr Innes centred round the Jed Forest Foxhounds, to which he used to belong.

The group were invited, within the Scottish law which forbids hunting by farmers and landowners, to flush out foxes using dogs before they were killed with guns, the spokesman said.

An event in April subsequently led to the allegations of illegal hunting.

A Dorset police spokeswoman said the fire was being treated as arson and added they were investigating the possibility that anti-hunt protesters were responsible.



LINKS TO MORE HAMPSHIRE/DORSET STORIES


 

SEE ALSO:
Fox hunt master in court
08 May 03  |  Scotland
Fox hunt masters charged
29 Apr 03  |  Scotland


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