North West Hunt Saboteurs

North West Hunt Group News
March 1995-January 2000

September 1999 - January 2000

Sabs from Manchester, Bolton and Preston have been keeping the pressure on the Holcombe Harriers and the Cheshire Forest Foxhounds respectively. The only deviation from the norm came on National Beagling Day (when it seems the only people to make the effort to go beagling are sabs themselves!!) when we joined Forest and District Beagles going nowwhere fast!!!!! The Forest and District Beagles for a quick trot (see picture left). It was a quick trot too, because as soon as they set eyes on sabs advancing on them from over a hill they hot-footed it back to their vehicles and packed up! 'Boxing day' brought with it a visit to the Holcombe Harriers by sabs, and a noisy banner demo protest at the meet by local campaigners.

Besides the usual sabotage which happens every week, sabs have managed to keep the hunting issue in the local papers through regular demos. Two local Cheshire vets were found to have direct connections with a local hunt and so a demo and press release were organised to highlight the obvious contradictions. This received much positive press, as did the demo at the annual meeting of the 230 year old Tarporley Hunt Club meeting at the start of the season. The Cheshire Forest also received embarrassing press on Christmas Eve after being banned from using a railway station car park, after years of abusing the facility for unboxing. Sabs also managed to sabotage the Pennine Foxhounds without even needing to attend a recent meet - the press interest generated by sabs meant the hunt didn't even turn up to see the locals who'd gathered together to demonstrate against them! Simple things to highlight - but all things that inconvenience the hunts and keep the issue in the spotlight.

To close I'll mention last Saturdays visit to the Cheshire Forest - a visit that was all the more necessary after sabs were attacked by a hunt supporter the previous week who tried to smash the van windows, let down tyres and get under the bonnet to disable the engine. And all the while huntsman Matthew Puffer and his fellow redcoats simply blocked the road with their horses so that escape was impossible. Sabs from Lancaster (new group!!!) joined with Manchester, Bolton and Preston sabs to swell numbers and helped get at least three foxes get away with their lives - an excellent example of sabbing at its best and thanks go to all concerned.

August 1999 - September 1999

Sabs from Manchester, Liverpool, Bolton and Preston were duly joined by Cardiff, Leeds, York, Dover/Kent, Nottingham and London sabs for what turned out to be a very uneventful Glorious 12th and 14th They days spent in search of shoots were good in that it annoyed the hell out of the Lancashire plod, but mad in that it involved hours of driving round to confirm no shooing was taking place before sabs believed what the cops had been saying all along! Most attention was focused on the Duke of Westminster's estate near Lancaster following the amazing shut down of the estate the previous year by sabotage, but several sources confirmed on the day that they would not be shooting this season due to diseased birds - definitely bad news for one of the richest men in the UK. The distinctly aresy attitude of the police, who attempted to direct sabs off an estate that we weren't even on led sabs to conclude that the police had got seriously told off after sab successes last year. Thanks must go to the journalist form the Independent who was interested/brave enough to come out for such a boring day, but seriously the sight of the H.S.A.' press officer proclaiming to all present that she wanted to satisfy herself would have made up for it. Just don't ask!!!?

And now back to those cuddly red fluffy things. Sabs from Manchester and Bolton have been busy disrupting cubbing at both the Cheshire Forest and Cheshire Foxhounds and have been so dedicated that after an early morning run around with any of the two hunts above they have been heading into Lancashire to join the Holcombe harriers (they are crap, but sabs like to let them think they're O.K.!) so far things have been pretty uneventful, apart from Matthew Puffer, huntsman of the Cheshire Forest, being far to friendly and helpful - maybe he' pledged to be nicer to sabs for the new Millennium???.

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September 1998 - January 1999

By the time November came round, after 8 weeks of incessant sabbing two or three times a week, the Cheshire Forest FH were reduced to only two known kills and relations between new huntsman, "call me Matthew" Puffer and Manchester and Liverpool sabs had become bassets.jpg (29811 bytes) decidedly frosty. In the meantime, Bolton had successfully been beavering away at the Holcombe Harriers, getting super fit and experiencing some of the worst weather known to man on the open moors. Other hunts visited this season were the Cheshire Foxhounds, Royal Rock Beagles, Cheshire Beagles, Forest and District Beagles, High Peak Harriers and the travelling Albany Bassets (see right picture, bet no-one else can claim a basset pack!).

During the main season Manchester and Liverpool sabs started pre-beating the Cheshire Foxhounds to great effect, before setting off to see Matthew at the Cheshire Forest whilst Bolton continued to get wet at the Holcombe. At this point the Cheshire Forest began generating a lot of bad publicity (for themselves). Boxing Day saw another sad incident at the Forest and District Beagles when one of their hounds died after getting caught in a snare. The lack of remorse shown by the hunt staff was beyond belief to Manchester, Liverpool and Stoke sabs present. The Holcombe Harriers also got their usual visit from Bolton sabs on the 26th Dec: thankfully the appalling weather actually did sabs a favour by cutting the day short. Apart from an unknown thug throwing a brick through the windscreen at the Cheshire Forest, the North West's first half of the 98/99 season was both trouble free and very successful.

September 1998 - November 1998

The new year carried on the same as the last with a mix of prebeating and sabbing. Each trip out prebeating the foxhunts in Cheshire resulted in a blank day for the hunt, especially pleasing being the joint meet of the Cheshire Foxhounds and Cheshire Forest where we flushed 3 foxes out of the area before the hunt set off and ruined another days hunting. Early February was meant to be the Mike Hill week of action so thanks to huge turnout from across the country. We still managed to force the Forest and District Beagles to cancel and sabbed the Cheshire Foxhounds twice, including a joint meet with the North Shropshire, and the Cheshire Forest. Some top sabbing ensured no kills all week although the week did end with a local League monitor being very badly beaten at the Cheshire Foxhounds. The police attitude however was very surprising, only one arrest all week, and cops giving us coffee and acting impartial. The Holcombe were sabbed another ten times after the new year with a memorable day at the Duke of York at Waterside where two sabs took the pack off four hares in the first hour before back up from Liverpool arrived. The end of February and the hunt lost the pack at Wheelton with only sabs close. The pack went straight into the nearby army base through a gap in the fence. We plugged the gaps and held the pack for half an hour before the hunt could regain control. Bizarrely almost the same thing happened again a week later at the final meet when sabs hunted the pack on into a pheasant release pen and closed the door behind them, holding the pack for around 20 minutes even convincing the whipper-in that the pack had got into the pen through a hole somewhere.

November 1997 - December 1997

Much of cubbing, as with the main season, was spent with the Holcombe Harriers. This pack is being targeted again this year with the usual sab tactic of acting as extra whips to keep the pack in tight to the huntsman with their heads up and reducing the area drawn, resulting in only one kill, from a chop, when sabs were out during the pre season.

A notable Cheshire day was at the Cheshire Forest Foxhounds where the 1st whip was hunting, as the huntsman had a broken collarbone. Sabs were in place to take the pack off a fox put up in a swede field, embarrassing the hunt further by taking the pack from the whip's feet with voice calls.

North West Sabs (Bolton, Manchester, Liverpool) spoilt the Holcombe opening meet in the Ashworth Valley, near Rochdale. Thankfully the 3 vans of Greater Manchester T.S.G. cops left early on in the day not even staying long enough to see one rider knock himself unconscious in under a minute of the hunt setting off. Unfortunately at the following meet at the Master's house the 7 sabs present were met by at least 8 police vehicles and the helicopter and arrested for constructive trespass surprisingly! 2 sabs returned to this area a month later for another meet and watched the hunt go crazy for the false trail we'd put down earlier. Sabs also ruined the Cheshire Forest opener taking the pack off a fox just 10 yards in front of the pack.

Sabs have also made a welcome return to the Cheshire Beagles from a few tip offs. The hunt had to cancel a meet at Brookside Farm when the farmer wouldn't let them hunt with the sabs present.

A rare meet of the Bleasdale Beagles in Lancashire was sabbed by Bolton, Liverpool, Manchester and Cumbria sabs who delayed the hunt for an hour or two, but still managing to sab them with a large police presence.

Back to the Holcombe at Tockoles the police out that day got their Landrover stuck in the mud for over an hour whilst we got on with the job of ruining another day.

Late December has seen a number of early morning trips to Cheshire to prebeat the they were due to draw on the day, various tactics were used including laying down citronella and unblocking the earth's. This tactic has proved to be very effective even with small numbers.

On Boxing Day two packs were sabbed, The Forest and District Beagles packed in their meet near Macclesfield after about an hour and the Holcombe did little better - the huntsman unable to even blow for home!

New Years Day and sabs prebeat the Cheshire Forest before moving on to the Royal Rock Beagles a few miles away. The hunt only managed to make it into their second field before packing up for the day. So back we went to the Forest who were drawing coverts for the second time round that day and still unable to find anything - wonder why!!!

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Summer 1997

Since the end of the last fox and hare hunting season, North West hunts sabs seem to have maintained a low profile, with only a brief outing to the Ytene Minkhounds and the shoots of August 12th. However, we haven't just been sunbathing and amongst our usual summer stuff our private prosecution against the huntsman of the Holcombe Harriers for cruelty to a fox is now proceeding slowly with his 'Not Guilty' plea entered and a forthcoming pre-trial review.

December 1996 - March 1997

Early December saw small but hardy group of sabs from the North West (Manchester, Bolton, Liverpool and Preston) enter Cheshire for a day out with the Cheshire Forest. A fine time was had by the undaunted four in the field, splitting the pack all over the shop and ending with the huntsman spitting at their feet before packing up. Good to know were not getting to them, isn't it? All local hunts lost a few days due to bad weather over Christmas but after that the Holcombe Harriers took over the rest of the North West's season, with only two or three meets missed. The first meet after the snow was at Affetside where three sabs escorted three foxes down the same line, and away from the pack. Mid February was now the infamous day in Cheshire; amid all the protesters were some sabs who took the hounds for a run and later stopped a pigeon shoot for the day, before the tactless intervention of Cheshire's finest.

September 1996 - December 1996

The end of the cubbing season saw North West sabs (Manchester, Bolton and Liverpool) in action at the Cheshire Forest F.H. A bad day for the hunt with sabs seeing plenty of foxes and the hunt missing them all. More bad news lay in wait for them when the following month, Chris Thorn, regular follower of the more physical kind, died in a tragic cycling accident near the kennels late one night. Oh dear.

Cubbing saw a few visits to the Holcombe Harriers, the Aspel meet saw them stop hunting to watch two farmers squaring up over hunt vs. sab trespass & the huntsman make a delightful fall over a ditch

Liverpool and Bolton sabs travelled up to the Lake District to join Cumbrian sabs at the Blencatha. Those sabs lucky enough to stay in the van and off the fells, watched the fox come straight past them and away from the hunt. Sabs from the region also travelled down to the Bristol week of action.

The start of the main hunting season saw a lone sab out on the Holcombe opening meet after pressure had forced the last minute cancellation of the scheduled opener. He was in place to rate the hounds off the only hare they put up, leaving the new whipper-in amazed. Late October there were a couple of visits to the High Peak Harriers whose hounds were very responsive to a good telling off when they were chasing hares. A recent attempt to sab the Staffordshire Moorland Harriers by sabs in the region (Manchester, Bolton, Liverpool, Stoke and Wolves was hampered by the large police presence, police horses, riot vans the lot.

The worst day this season occurred at the Loveclough meet of the Holcombe Harriers. On the moor the hunt surprisingly, soon got onto a fox which was caught within seconds. As sabs tried to intervene and rate the hounds off, the huntsman rode his horse over the fox, breaking her spine. The master then picked up the still living fox by it's tail before sabs snatched it from him and took it to a local vet. Although the fox received treatment it died later that evening. This disproves YET AGAIN the claims that a hunted animal dies by a quick nip to the back of the neck, the only bite wounds were on the foxes stomach. A demonstration outside the master's house on the Monday evening received a lot of local press coverage.

An excellent day was had on 23rd November, National Beagling Day that never really was! It is a sad but trueBleasdale Beagles also going nowhere fast!!!!!!! sabbing dream when three beagle packs advertise in your locality and NW sabs didn't let the opportunity slip.despite the frost and the snow Manchester and Bolton headed into Lancashire to see the Bleasedale Beagles (see picture right). After having to push both sab vehicles up the hill due to a distinct lack of grip in the snow, sabs were happily greeted by the sight of the huntsman boxing up as soon as he laid eyes on the eager beaglers that his advertising had attracted! Sabs then headed over to Cheshire to look for the Forest and District Beagles. As nothing could be found of them in the area of the meet and the snow was even worse in this area, it was safely assumed they had not ventured out of the kennels.

Liverpool and Midlands sabs took up the rare invite to visit the Cheshire Beagles, who have since operated underground since the hunts involvement in the death of Mike Hill, a Liverpool sab killed whilst sabbing the hunt in 1991. However, the beagles were not found at the advertised meet and one can only assume that they may have realised some 'old friends' could turn up. May they continue to hide in shame until their 'sport' is banned.

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May 1999 - August 1996

Since the end of the season the North West Sabs have been very busy fund raising for the forth coming Border Mink Hounds in Cheshire season, however, we still found time to be a pain to some of our local hunts. On May 11 the Border Counties Mink Hounds made their annual trip into Cheshire, where they were to be greeted by our smiling faces (not a pretty sight). As the hunt set off from the Swettenham Arms, sabs were waiting down the river for them to arrive, on seeing us they made a hasty retreat back to the pub. After an hours wait the supporters started to drift off, could they be going to another meet we thought?, no, they were just heading off home.

Dove Valley Mink HoundsDuring the month of June we decided to pay a visit to the Dove Valley Mink Hounds, and along with other groups from Stoke, Bolton, Sheffield, Northampton, Nottingham, Wolverhampton and Leeds a kennel block was planned. This worked very well with the hunt not going out all day, a big thank you to the police for all their help on the day. (It's only the bad apple in the barrel that spoils it for the rest!)

At the end of June we paid a visit to the Holcombe Hunt puppy show which was great fun, until the prick with the pointy stick turned up! Also it's with a sad farewell (if you believe that you will believe anything) we say goodbye to the Holcombe's ex master Trevor Raymond Longster (blondie to his mates), and we would like to say a BIG hello to Arnold, yes we really do mean it, hope to see you all soon.

In August there have been many badger digging cases in the North West, see Vermin Patrol, and we have been holding demonstrations outside the courts every time these people have been appearing. A massive thanks to everyone who turned up.

On 26 August sabs attended a cubbing meet of the South Shropshire Hunt at Stiperstones, just south of Shrewsbury. Try as hard as he could the huntsman could not lose us even though he headed up some of the biggest hills in Shropshire and after a couple of feeble attempts to hunt, they all packed up and went home with no kills.

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January 1996 - March 1996

The year started off very much as 1995 finished, with very few hunts out hunting due to bad weather. February, and still no rest from the bad conditions (if it could only be like this all season). The end of February and at last there was some action, it's off down south to help them 'southern jessies' with a sab on the Duke of Beaufort, this turned out to be a very successful day, with no kills which is very rare for them.

The following week it was the start of the first ever 'Welsh Week', this was attended by a motley crew from all over the North West.

March started with a regional hit on the Cheshire Forest F.H. who were having their closing Saturday meet at the Chetwode Arms, Lower Whitley near Warrington. There was a large attendance of about 60 sabs from Manchester, Bolton, Liverpool, Stoke, Sheffield, Wolverhampton, Coventry and last but no means least, or maybe they are Bristol/Cardiff.

At the meeting place we came across the worst case of 'More Than My Jobs Worth' ever. This man would not even let us park our vans on a motorway service station car park, can you believe that one! (see you again next season if you are still there). On arrival at the meet there was a large police presence, who straight away blocked the A49 (this is a major road through Cheshire), thus causing a server traffic jam. Sabs then left their respective vans and headed off on foot to the meet. On arrival at the meet we were meet by even more police, including their plane, which then proceeded to follow us for the next 2 hours (how much did that cost the tax payer?). We later found out the police had received a tip-off. Straight from the meet the hunt set off at a fast pace, no not over the fields but down the A49. After what seemed like ages the eventually went into the fields. Sabs managed to keep up with them even thought they had a good start. However, as sabs got within horn blowing distance, they were off again. Later it turned out they headed straight through a wildlife nature reserve, on police advice allegedly. During this time the police had arrested all the drivers and passengers to prevent a breach of the peace, the good news is they were all released without charge later that day. (could this be another large payout from the Cheshire police. Thank you Inspector Kinsey)

Sabs then came across the hunt congregated in a circle near the meet, was this the end of their day?, sadly no, one of their horses had died from heart failure. Just another victim on the hands of the hunt.

After this sad event, the hunt just kept running every time we got near to them, but on one occasion we did manage to attract the hounds and keep them for a short while, this upset them no end. The day ended with a victory for us with no kills, except the one at the hands of the hunt.

The following week we were at the closing meet of the Albrighton F.H. who were meeting at their kennels near Wolverhampton, yet again a kill free meet. This rounded off our season, see you all at the mink hunts.

September 1995 - January 1996

Once again another hunting season starts and like a bad smell that will not go away, the North West Hunt Sabs (Manchester, Bolton, Liverpool and Stoke) were out and about.

As November approached sabs attended a demo at the opening meet of the Cheshire Forest F.H. at Sandiway, which attracted wide spread coverage in the local press. It was noticed however, there was a lack of support for the hunt, one of their most prestigious meets.

The same week, sabs also were in action at the opening meet of the Holcombe Hunt, at Appley Bridge near Wigan. This was a good day for the sabs, as they upset the hunt near the end of the day, by managing to save a fox from being torn apart.

With the help of Stoke sabs, the Holcombe received yet another visit this time it was at Waterside near Darwen, and yet again it was another blank day for the hunt.

The following Saturday we travelled south with Stoke to attend a meet of the Woodland Pytchley F.H. After two and a half hours of waiting around at the meet, they tried to hunt, but failed dismally.

It was another visit to our local pack, the Holcombe Hunt, this time the meet was on a housing estate in Bolton, yes I did say a housing estate. The handful of sabs who attended had a very successful day, saving many hares.

The start of December we received a tip-off from a local farmer that the illusive Royal Rock Beagles were to meet in Cheshire, this turned out to be correct, with what must have been the smallest field I have ever seen, only four, sabs took control of the pack for most of the day making this another problem day for the new huntsman. At the start of January they again tried to attend this meet, again sabs attended following a tip-off from the same farmer. (Keep up the good work, you know who you are). The result was the same as their before, a blank day.

The festive (bar humbug) period turned out to be a great time in the North West, with the Cheshire Forest, Cheshire Foxhounds and the Holcombe Hunt all cancelling the traditional Boxing Day meets due to bad weather. One of only a couple of hunts who were brave enough to venture out were the Forest and District Beagles who were spotted at a meet near Macclesfield, Cheshire. As soon as they left the meet, sabs followed them up onto the moors. After thirty minutes of trying to hunt, they decided to call it a day and go home. So with a blank afternoon to waste is was off to the pub with the Stoke sabs for a well earned drink.

It was the same over the New Year period, with only the very brave or should that be stupid hunts attempting to go out and hunt.

You might be forgiven thinking its all been very quite in Cheshire this season, but you would be completely wrong. Even though sabs have not been there as often as past seasons, the hunts still managed to hit the headlines in one way or another.

During a meet of the Cheshire Foxhounds at Willington Hall on November 2, the pack found the scent of a fox, luckily the fox managed to escape across a major road, but sadly this was not the case for one of their hounds. As cars swerved all over the main road trying to miss the chasing pack, a motorist was unable to act quickly and knocked down and killed one of their hounds (Penny).

Only a couple of weeks later the same hunt tried to hunt a local canal bank/towpath, causing damage to both areas, and as we all know under the British Waterways Board Bylaw Clause 31 'Horse riding, unless a designated bridleway, is not permitted on the towpath and is an offence', stay tuned for an update. You might be thinking this was a one off incident, but you would be wrong. At a Cheshire Forest meet, Drakelow Hall Farm Byley, on December 2, the hunt decided to do a bit of sabbing themselves by riding down a canal towpath, thus disrupting all the anglers who were there at the time. However, later worse was to follow. Four riders were making their way back to the meet along the same towpath, when they plunged into the canal, after a few minutes the riders managed to get themselves out, they then found a grassy slope were their horses were helped out.

The Cheshire Forest were once again in trouble following an incident at their meet at Mouldsworth, December 23. Hounds yet again strayed out of control onto a main road, causing drivers to swerve all over the dual carriageway.

The BFSS hit back, saying hounds are trained to stop at the sound of the huntsman's horn, they obviously have not read a copy of the League Against Cruel Sports 'Track Record', which details the death of over 100 hounds on either roads or railway lines.

March 1995 - September 1995

Since the end of the hunting season the North West sabs have been fairly quiet on the sabbing front. However, Sabs at the Ytene Mink Hounds we have had a couple of good days visiting the Ytene Mink Hounds. On the first visit in May the hunt packed up after ninety minutes of being continually sabbed (which included stopping a mink being dug out from its holt, see picture), despite the presence of some 30 local bobbies. A couple of weeks later we returned to the Ytene it was another round trip of 500-600 miles for some of our members (the hardy Cumbrian sabs), this again proved to be a successful day.

Royal Rock Beagles news now, it is great sadness we have to report the retirement of the huntsman for this pack, a Rodney B. Symonds. After years of service he has decided to hang his hunting horn up for good. There have been rumours among the hunting fraternity in Cheshire that Mr Symonds retired due to persistent pressure from sabs over the last few seasons, and the pressure just got to him, but who are we to say if these rumours are true. The little git from Liverpool says "see you soon"! However, we look forward with great enthusiasm to meeting his replacement, and hope it will not be to long before he retires as well.

In June as part of the anti-angling week Bolton sabs did a river bank clean up, collecting 4 big bags of rubbish/tackle from their local rivers. This achieved wide press coverage in the local papers. Who said anglers don't leave litter lying about.

July was the month for some much needed fund-raising, with all the groups doing stalls on what it seemed like was every street corner.

It was off yet again for another visit to the Ytene, however, this visit was a bit different from the other two, as we did not see the hunt all day. The reason for this is the hunt/hounds were being followed around the countryside by local sabs. By the end of the day the hunt did not even manage to get their hounds out of their van, yet another successful sab.

August 12th had the North West sabs travelling up the M6 to Cumbria, with around 50 sabs present, with some even coming up from Bristol and Cardiff, it did not take long to locate the first grouse shoot of the season. Without even firing a shot this shooting party decided to head back home. On venturing out in the afternoon to try their luck again they were confronted by sabs from Edinburgh/Manchester, who had been keeping a watchful eye over them. Needless to say that was more than enough for them and called it a day.

On the other side of the moor a much bigger shoot was located. However when they saw sabs running up the moor towards them, they could not pack up fast enough. It was then followed by a quick run to their vehicles to try and make a dash for it. Helped by a local farmer and the ever impartial Cumbrian police they managed to evade the sabs.

After 60 minutes of walking up a track to the moors the shoot was once again located, but this time they had resorted to walk-up shooting. This was once again stopped as sabs managed to stand in front of the guns. The shoot then decided to call it a day. Yet another successful day's sabbing.

Group news September 2005-March 2006

Grouse shoot sab 13th August 2005

Group news September 2004-September 2005

Grouse shoot sab 14th August 2004

Group news September 2004-March 2005

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