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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 February, 2005, 15:07 GMT
'Little trouble' at South's hunts
Hunting with dogs
Hunts across the South passed off with little trouble
Hundreds of hunt members across the South gathered on Saturday in protest at the new fox hunting ban.

About 30 hunts met throughout Hampshire, Dorset, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and the Isle of Wight - with little in the way of real trouble.

Many set off intending "to drag hunt within the law" following the ban brought in on Friday morning.

In the main, there was only a token confrontation between anti-hunt activists and the hunters, police say.

'Live in liberty'

Assistant Chief Constable Adrian Whiting, of Dorset Police, said: "All the hunts in Dorset have pursued lawful activity today.

"At this stage no offences have become apparent and no arrests have been made for public order offences or in relation to the Hunting Act."

He said the situation would continue to be monitored for the rest of the hunting season.

Both the South Dorset Hunt in Dorchester and the Cattistock Hunt at Abbotsbury attracted more than 1,000 supporters.

In Hampshire, there were only minor confrontations across the county and police made no arrests.

Jeremy Irons

In the New Forest, the New Forest Hounds met in Burley for procession through the village without incident.

Thames Valley Police said no arrests had been made at the hunts in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

Actor Jeremy Irons, who attended the Bicester Hunt in Oxfordshire, described the ban as "the thin end of the wedge".

He said: "England is made up of minorities whether Asian or huntsmen.

"I believe as a nation we should be allowed to live in liberty."





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