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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 September 2005, 19:49 GMT 20:49 UK
Hunt farmer asked to be arrested
Red deer can damage woodland
Devon and Cornwall Police are not to prosecute a north Devon farmer who asked to be arrested for breaking the ban on hunting with dogs.

Giles Bradshaw refuses to carry a gun and admits to having four dogs instead of the stipulated two.

The law says once a deer has been flushed out it has to be shot and cannot be chased by dogs. Police say they need firm evidence to prosecute.

Anti-hunt protesters say police should act if there is sufficient evidence.

Mr Bradshaw farms about 100 acres of land near South Molton.

They really cannot treat hunt supporters as above the law
Peter Anderson, League Against Cruel Sports

He said: "We have issues about the deer here and you can see how they have damaged the bark.

"Now if we didn't take our dogs in here and flush out the deer, then when we coppice this right down and all the new growth comes back up, the deer just graze it off and kill the trees.

"I don't want to be forced by the government to carry a gun every time I walk my dogs through the woods. I think they are serious public safety issues.

"I honestly don't believe it is in the welfare interests of the deer to shoot them rather then letting them run off."

No action

Mr Bradshaw walked into his local police station and asked to be arrested. However he says the police told him they would not take any action.

Inspector Nevin Hunter from Devon and Cornwall Police said: "The legislation is still very new and we need to know the interpretation of the courts to give us some indication of what is actually required and this very much depends on the quality of evidence we can gather when cases are reported."

Peter Anderson, from the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "If he continues to act in this way we would expect, if there is sufficient evidence, for police to act.

"They really cannot treat hunt supporters as above the law in some way."

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