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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 February, 2005, 14:05 GMT
Hunt number 'exceeds expectation'
Hunting with dogs became illegal at midnight on Thursday
The first Cheshire Forest Hunt since the ban on fox hunting was introduced went ahead peacefully, said organisers.

Tom Fell, the Countryside Alliance regional director, said there were no problems at Saturday's hunt.

"It went very well. We had expected a good turnout but it far exceeded our expectations," he said.

"I didn't see a policeman or anti-hunt protestor all day. The trail had been carefully chosen and I am not aware of any scent being pursued."

In terms of numbers of those who attended the hunt, he said: "It was not easy to count heads, but we estimated about 100 mounted followers and 500 people on foot.

"There was a strength of feeling from all sorts of people who just wanted to be there."

The North West Hunt Saboteurs Association had said before Saturday's event that they would be observing the hunt's activities.

Paul Timpson, a spokesman for the group, said he did not think any of the 250 hunts going on around the country on Saturday would break the new legislation on hunting foxes with hounds.

He said: "We're not expecting any laws to be broken today but we will be filming them anyway. If we observe a fox being chased we will intervene."

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