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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 November 2005, 15:41 GMT
Saboteurs blamed for hunt attack
More than 80 hounds were let loose during the night
Hunt saboteurs have been blamed by pro-hunt campaigners for an arson attack on a kennels in which horses and dozens of hounds were let out.

The intruders also set fire to rubbish in a wheelie bin and fencing.

The attack was in the early hours of Sunday morning at the Essex and Suffolk Hunt at Layham near Hadleigh, Suffolk.

The 82 hounds and five horses set loose were all later recovered after staff discovered the break-in and called police and the fire service.

The action has been condemned as irresponsible by an anti-hunt group.

'Hunt scum'

Spokeswoman for the League Against Cruel Sports Wanda Wyporska said: "Although firmly and strongly opposed to bloodsports, the League utterly condemns this irresponsible action.

"We have always campaigned within the law for change."

The culprits had also used an aerosol to spray the words "hunt scum" on the road.

No group has claimed responsibility. Suffolk Police said they were investigating.

Pro-hunters denounced those responsible as "rural terrorists" after the attack which comes just a fortnight after the start of the hunting season.

Huntsman Gary Thorpe, 36, said: "We are appalled by the actions of these people. They let all the hounds and horses out of their stables and left the gates wide open so they could get on the road.

'Completely deplorable'

"Thankfully this did not happen, but that was more by luck than anything else or they could have caused a serious accident.

"These people call themselves animal lovers, but what kind of animal lover does this?

"It is very disappointing. We are trying our hardest to hunt within the law and have done everything that has been asked of us, yet these people continue to make our lives a misery."

Liz Mort, eastern region spokeswoman for the Countryside Alliance, said the actions were "completely deplorable".

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