North West Hunt Saboteurs

Press Releases 1995-2000

The Glorious 12th - shortage of grouse, no shortage of police! Saboteurs condemn policing as excessive- 13/8/99

Cheshire Hunters shut down as tribute - 1/3/99

Saboteurs appalled as a beagle dies at a north west hunt - 26/12/98

Hunt Saboteurs go beagling with the Forest & District Beagles (and guests) on National Beagling Day! - 22/11/98

Hunt Protester risks life to save drowning fox during hunt chase - 11/11/98

Hunt carnage - but this time the hounds are the innocent victims - Hounds killed by train in copy cat incident - 7/11/98

Duke of Westminster and chums held at bay by Hunt Saboteurs (2) - 15/8/98

Duke of Westminster and chums held at bay by Hunt Saboteurs! - 12/8/98

Huntsman narrowly escapes animal cruelty charge - 10/3/98

Two Hunt Dogs Drown in Reservoir - 25/1/97

Fox Clubbed to Death - 18/12/96

Cheshire Police import internment to the mainland - 5/3/96

Thugs from Prince Charles' foxhunt given 12-month prison sentences - 10/3/95

Hunt thugs use "IRA-style punishment squads" in terror attacks on northwest saboteurs - 20/2/95

Press Releases 2000-2002

The Glorious 12th - shortage of grouse, no shortage of police! Saboteurs condemn policing as excessive- 13/8/99

Hunt Saboteurs present at the Duke of Westminster's Abbeystead Estate in Lancashire yesterday described the actions of police as excessive and unnecessary after over 20 police officers descended upon them, despite the fact that no shooting was taking place on the estate due to low grouse numbers. Police forced the saboteurs vehicles to stop and removed all occupants so that they could be subjected to searches, apparently for 'weapons'. The convoy of around 40 saboteurs was held up for around 45 minutes.

Dawn Preston, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) stated 'We find it absolutely outrageous that the Duke of Westminster can command such a massive police response - especially when there was in fact no shooting taking place on his estate! We had in attendance a police riot van, at least 4 motorcycle coppers, a couple of police cars, and an unmarked police car complete with three evidence gatherers - we were quite disappointed that they hadn't pulled out all the stops and brought a helicopter in!'

She continued 'I think it's quite telling that despite all this attention nothing out of the ordinary was found during the searches of people and vehicles, and there were no arrests. The HSA is a non-violent direct action organisation and as such our sole intention was to check for shooters, and if we had found any we would have disrupted them to prevent birds, which are bred solely for profit, being blasted out of the sky in the name of 'sport'. We were very happy to learn that the Duke, and indeed grouse estates throughout the country, are suffering from low grouse numbers due to disease. We hope that their troubles continue and that next year many of them are out of business'.

Grouse shooting normally begins on the infamous 'Glorious Twelfth' and ends in December. In four months some half a million birds will be shot. Although the birds are not hand-reared, their numbers are kept artificially high by gamekeepers who rigorously exterminate their natural predators. Grouse are known as 'the king of gamebirds' because of their fast flight. This speed also makes a clean kill difficult and results in birds being shot without instantly falling to the ground, and many fly on wounded.

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Cheshire Hunters shut down as tribute - 1/3/99

Hunt Saboteurs on Saturday paid a fitting tribute to the memory of Mike Hill when 4 out of the 5 hunts in Cheshire were sabotaged.

Mike, a saboteur with Merseyside sabs, was killed in February 1991 when Cheshire Beagles huntsman, Alan Summersgill, drove over him at speed as he attempt to jump free of the hound van.

Saboteurs from Manchester, Liverpool, Bolton, Wolverhampton, Leeds, Stoke and Sheffield paid tribute to his memory by effectively shutting all hunting down within Cheshire on Saturday. The only hunt which could not be found were the Cheshire Beagles themselves - who since Mike's death have gone so far underground that even their own supporters must have difficulty finding them.

Dawn Preston, a spokesperson for North West hunt sabs, stated "Although last Saturday was not the nearest Saturday to the anniversary of Mike's death, the police were on the look-out for us for the previous two weekends and by choosing the last Saturday for the action we managed to avoid them and any arrests and were able to concentrate on sabbing" She continued "Mike lost his life defending those at a loss to defend themselves - we will never forget him, or Tom Worby who was also killed whilst sabotaging a hunt. As long as there are bloodsports there will be hunt saboteurs".

Hunts sabotaged were:- Cheshire Foxhounds, Cheshire Forest,  Forest & District Beagles and the Royal Rock Beagles.

Saboteurs appalled as a beagle dies at a north west hunt - 26/12/98

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Hunt saboteurs in the North West were today appalled at the complete indifference shown by hunt staff and supporters alike at a meet of the Forest and District Beagles, near Macclesfield, Cheshire after a beagle died after getting caught in a snare. The incident occurred at approx 1.30 p.m. after the hunt had set off from the Cragg Inn public house at around noon. The hunt master, Mr Richard May, refused to comment on the incident when questioned by a saboteur present. Paul Timpson stated 'The complete lack of shame or concern shown by the hunt and their supporters over the needless loss of a beagle's life is disgraceful. I will never forget the pathetic sight of the limp, lifeless beagle being carried down from the hill.

Saboteurs were also present at a meet of the Holcombe Harriers at Rivington Barn, Lancashire and had a successful day, despite the unnecessary presence of four mounted police who joined sabs in the field with the hunt. The hunt packed up at 2.00 p.m., after drawing a blank thanks to hunt saboteurs.

Hunt Saboteurs go beagling with the Forest & District Beagles (and guests) on National Beagling Day! - 22/11/98

North West Hunt Saboteurs attended and successfully prevented any kills at a joint meet of the Forest & District Beagles and Royal Rock Beagles at Wildboarclough, near Macclesfield on Saturday. The day was actually 'National Beagling Day', organised by the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles, who aim to 'promote hare hunting to a wider audience', - although it is doubtful that the 'wider audience' was meant to have included hunt saboteurs!

The saboteurs present used a combination of horn and voice calls to ensure that the hunt did not kill despite putting a couple of hares up, and the visiting hunt looked disappointed to have travelled over from Wirral only to be greated by saboteurs and have a blank day.

Dawn Preston, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) stated 'No real vermin control or conservation reasons exist for the hunting of hares, and the refusal of the beaglers (hunters who hunt hares with Beagle dogs) to stop or at the very least reduce their culling activities in light of the steep decline in brown hare numbers shows their oft heard 'conservationist' cry to be a sham'.

Ms Preston continued 'The two days held over previous years have been noted by saboteurs to be of little success and this year looks was no different, with only 6 beagle hunts advertised in Horse and Hound (pro-bloodsports magazine). The day is simply lip service paid by the Countryside Alliance, the hunters themselves seem very reluctant to accept newcomers to the so called 'sport'. Once the day is over and done with the hunts return to their old secretive ways, with only one or two hunt meets advertised publicly'.

Hunt Protester risks life to save drowning fox during hunt chase - 11/11/98

Today during a hunt of the Cheshire Forest Foxhounds a protester jumped into the ice cold waters of a flooded pond to rescue a drowning fox. Hounds and riders from the hunt had been chasing the terrified animal across a field at Ashton, nr Chester, when it jumped into the pond to try and escape.A sab saves the drowning fox

The fox, too exhausted to swim and frantically thrashing about, disappeared below the surface but hunt protester Mark Davies leaped into the water and, almost submerged, plucked the fox from the bottom of the pond and carried it to safety.

A fellow protester who witnessed the incident said 'Mark is a real hero, without a thought for himself but only for the fox he went straight in and pulled it out. The fox is now being cared for at a wildlife hospital and it looks as though it will survive the ordeal. Mark is suffering a bit from the soaking he got in the freezing pond, but he is determined to be out at the next Cheshire hunt meet to save more wildlife from the torture and abuse that the hunters inflict'.

He continued 'The fox, a young cub, was extremely lucky - the hounds had almost caught it and they would have torn it to shreds if it had not jumped in the pond. I only hope that some of the hunters, especially those who looked on and did nothing to help, only jeer, will search their hearts for a little compassion and perhaps realise just how much pain and suffering they put wildlife through for their bit of entertainment'.

Hunt carnage - but this time the hounds are the innocent victims - Hounds killed by train in copy cat incident - 7/11/98

Two hounds were today killed after being hit by a high speed train in an identical incident to one which occurred at the same spot exactly a year ago. The two hounds, part of the pack being hunted by the Cheshire Forest Foxhounds at Bradwall Manor, near Sandbach in Cheshire, were killed as they crossed the busy Crewe to Manchester line. The pack had flushed a fox from a covert (wood) and two Whippers - In (hunt staff) encouraged the hounds on in the chase which led them directly across the rail track.

This incident occurs exactly a year to the day that the hunt suffered the loss of another hound after it to was struck by a train at the same spot. At the time the then Master, Peter Hunter stated 'it is...very rare for this to happen...I think it is of great credit to the hunt staff that this does not happen very often'.

Dawn Preston, of the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated 'The fact that this is a mirror image of what happened previously, with the terrible exception that it involved the deaths of two hounds rather than one, highlights the hunt's blatant disregard for life - whether it be fox or hound. In light of Peter Hunter's comments last year it is beyond belief that they could allow the same thing to happen again. The complete lack of concern over the fate of the two hounds was clearly displayed by the hunt and their followers who simply continued with the days hunting. Obviously the hounds were deemed as expendable' She continued 'Although saboteurs were present they were unfortunately not in a position to have prevented the hounds from crossing the line'.

British Transport Police were called to the scene and the incident reported, although at this time it is not known if any action is to be taken against the hunt for trespass.

Facts and Figures:-Trespass on a railway line is a criminal offence - but it is one which the British Transport Police do not seem to take seriously, with only one prosecution recorded (see below).

The Cheshire Foxhounds were successfully prosecuted in May 1994 following a trespass recorded by the League Against Cruel Sports. Three members of the hunt were fined £25. (See LACS 'Track Record: A Report on Road and Rail Accidents Caused by Hunting'.)

In January 1994, following the trespass incident referred to above, British Rail managers issued a memo to all Cheshire train drivers which warned them to slow down when in foxhunt territories in the county. (Ibid.)

Duke of Westminster and chums held at bay by Hunt Saboteurs (2) - 15/8/98

North-West hunt saboteurs yet again brought a swift end to attempted grouse shooting on the Duke of Westminster's estate in Abbeystead, east of Lancaster, with the bonus of finding other smaller shoots in the area today. The party of around 40 shooters and beaters contained the Duke himself who is renowned as a serious financial supporter of the bloodsports fraternity.

Around 80 hunt sabs, ready to employ non-violent direct action tactics of occupying the shooting butts to prevent shooting or forming a beating line to beat birds away from the guns found this was not necessary as the shooters, once approached on the moor, sensibly just gave up! The Lancashire Police arrived in numbers but found an entirely peaceful demonstration and no arrests were made.

Dawn Preston, spokesperson for the North West hunt sabs said "Today represents another massive victory for us - following on from the success of our actions on the `Inglorious' 12th when the Duke's shooting party didn't even set foot on the grouse moor, let alone get to fire a shot. Grouse are bred for the sole purpose of being shot from the sky for pleasure and profit. And all by the supposed self-titled `Guardians of the Land'. The number of lives saved by our actions over the last few days must run to the hundreds".

The 12th of August saw the start of the Grouse shooting season in the UK, continuing through to December, which will involve the pointless slaughter of hundreds of thousands of birds. Moors are maintained in a wholly artificial manner simply to provide Grouse for people to shoot them! Virtually all other moorland wildlife (deemed to be a threat to young Grouse) is killed to avoid predation or competition.

Duke of Westminster and chums held at bay by Hunt Saboteurs! -12/8/98

News has just reached the HSA that the Duke of Westminster's first Grouse shoot of the new season is currently being forced to delay shooting because of the presence of Hunt Saboteurs. As we write, there are currently about 50 Hunt Saboteurs from the North West maintaining their presence while the Duke and his shooting cronies hide in his mansion! The Lancashire Police (read Duke of Westminster's private army) have just started to arrive with dog units, mounted section and several riot vans!

The saboteurs will be risking their liberty and safety to get between the guns and the Grouse if the shooting party decide to try and kill some wild animals.

Today sees the start of the Grouse shooting season in the UK, continuing through to December, which will involve the pointless slaughter of hundreds of thousands of birds. Many moor owners have decided not to shoot until the later part of the season due to low Grouse numbers, making locating a shoot like finding a needle in a haystack. Years of experience and research by North West Hunt Saboteurs led them to the Duke's Abbeystead Estate before the party could get onto the moors to begin the day's carnage.

Moors are maintained in a wholly artificial manner simply to provide Grouse for people to shoot them! Virtually all other moorland wildlife (deemed to be a threat to young Grouse) is killed to avoid predation or competition.

It is fitting that today the Duke of Westminster, who bankrolls the Countryside Alliance to the tune of millions of pounds, is being prevented from shooting by the direct action of a small number of Hunt Saboteurs many of whom have taken a day off work to be there!

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Huntsman narrowly escapes animal cruelty charge - 10/3/98

A private prosecution by a Bolton hunt saboteur, failed narrowly earlier this morning to convict a huntsman of cruelty. Alex Sneddon, huntsman of the Bury based Holcombe Harriers, was facing a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by trampling it with his horse. It was the first time a hunt servant has faced a charge under the Wild Mammals Act 1996, which brought limited protection to many wild animals.

The stipendiary magistrate in the case agreed that the prosecution evidence from the three hunt saboteurs who gave evidence was truthful and that Sneddon's horse had trampled the injured fox on the floor. However he ruled that the injury was accidental thus finding Sneddon not guilty.

Despite the verdict we still believe that Sneddon was guilty of a criminal act when he crushed the fox. This case surely proves the need for tighter wildlife protection laws; in fact the only way to truly protect our wildlife is to ban hunting with hounds in accordance with the wishes of the vast majority of the public. These people should be held responsible for the crimes they commit against our wildlife.

A spokesperson for the NWHSA said: "This fox suffered 35 bite wounds to her body, a broken tibia and fibula in the rear leg and a severe blunt trauma injury to the back. It is outrageous that it is still legal to inflict such horrific injuries on an animal all in the name of sport. It is surely time to ban hunting for good."

Two Hunt Dogs Drown in Reservoir - 25/1/97

Two hounds from the Holcombe Harriers were killed on Saturday 25th January 1997 after chasing a hare across an ice covered reservoir. The incident happened within an hour of the hunt setting off from the Egerton Arms, Ashworth Valley, near Rochdale, when hunt staff lost control of the pack of dogs as they chased a hare. Members of the North West Hunt Saboteurs Association (NWHSA), who were present on the day, worked with hunt members to rescue hounds from the icy water.

Saboteurs and hunt staff reached the far side of Ashworth Moor reservoir, off the A680 between Rochdale and Edenfield, at the same time to see half the pack were in the water whilst chasing a hare which had run across the ice in a desperate attempt to escape. A saboteur was first on the scene and called the pack out of the water and off to safety. However a small number of hounds remained in the reservoir and saboteurs raced to join hunt members who were breaking the ice around the hounds in the hope that they could swim free.

This succeeded in getting most of the hounds out but three remained stuck far out in the ice. Two saboteurs and one hunt member then waded out into the reservoir tied on a makeshift rope line to reach the dogs. Despite the freezing temperatures they managed to reach one hound which was hauled ashore and quickly dried and warmed up by the saboteurs. Unfortunately the other two hounds could not be reached and they drowned in the water.

Whilst this rescue attempt was going on other saboteurs held half the pack some distance away, however hunt staff failed to look after the other half and three hounds were knocked down as they ran loose along the busy A680.

Paul Timpson from the NWHSA said: "This tragic incident highlights the reckless and careless attitudes of hunting people who seem to care as little for their own dogs as they do for the foxes and hares they kill for fun."

Fox Clubbed to Death- 18/12/96

On Wednesday 18 December 1996 four members of the North West Hunt Saboteurs attended a meet of the Holcombe Hunt at the Cavandish Arms, Brindle (east ofClayton Brook), the hunt started at 12 a.m.

As the sabs followed the hunt around the fields they used non violent direct action to disrupt the hunt by imitating the huntsman using a hunting horn and voice calls to control the hounds. This tactic was working very well until the hounds came across a fox hiding in some bracken on Holt Farm, which is owned by the hunt Master Arnold Greenhalgh.

The hounds then flushed the fox out and across the fields. At this point sabs tried to intervene using the above tactics, however, the huntsman had seen the fox trying to escape across the field and chased it back towards the oncoming pack of 40 hounds. Somehow the fox managed to escape being caught at this point and headed back towards the bracken. The huntsman once again headed the fox back into the oncoming pack, who were only seconds behind the fox.

As sab arrived at the bracken they could see the fox had been caught by a few of the leading hounds and the fox was using it's front two legs to crawl along the floor with a look of fear on it's face. At this point some members of the hunt then started to punch and hit the sabs as they tried to rescue the fox, while this melee was going on, a whipper-in for the hunt, Ron Stouph, managed to trap the fox while it was trying to escape. He grabbed it by the scruff of the neck and began to club it on the head with his riding crop until it was dead. A supporter then carried the body of the fox away very quickly to prevent sabs getting the carcass.

"I will never forget the look on it's face as it was clubbed about the head with a riding crop, its the worst thing I have ever seen in my 10 years of sabbing hunts" said Paul Timpson, a member of the N.W.H.S.A. This incident follows a similar event that also involved the Holcombe Hunt at The Glory Public House, Loveclough near Rawtenstall on 16 November 1996.

During the days hunting the hunt came across a fox on the moors, sabs were once again in attendance, but sadly the hounds managed to catch a fox. However, the fox somehow managed to escape only to be trampled on by the huntsman's horse. As the master Arnold Greenhaigh held the fox aloft to show the hunt followers, sabs grabbed the fox and run off with it. At this point when sabs realised the fox was still alive and rushed the female fox off the a nearby vets. Sadly that evening the fox died.

Two days later the fox was taken to an independent vets for a post mortem, they found that the fox had extensive puncture wounds "consistent with multiple bite wounds", also a "major blunt trauma" must have caused an injury which most likely killed the fox.

These two incidents dispel the hunt's theory that a fox is killed swiftly by a quick nip to the back of the neck.

Cheshire Police import internment to the mainland - 5/3/96

Hunt saboteurs from the Northwest and Midlands were subjected to Cheshire Constabulary's continued attempts to import the use of internment orders across the Irish Sea on Saturday. At a time when such measures have again being rejected as too authoritarian even to deal with the renewal of the terrorist threat in Ireland, Cheshire police seem to feel they are just the ticket in dealing with small-scale public order policing.

Ostensibly acting in the guise of "keeping the peace" a co-ordinated gang of officers from across the county swooped on the main A49 near Northwhich, blocking the road off for 25 minutes, and detaining 6 vans containing saboteurs. With an enormously expensive spotter plane circling overhead, they then arrested the drivers and navigators of each vehicle and impounded all the vehicles, leaving 50 anti-hunt protesters stranded in the middle of one of the country's most notorious blackspots for hunt violence. Meanwhile those arrested were held until the hunt finished and then released without charge û effectively an admission that they had committed no offence, but were being held to prevent any opposition to the hugely influential Cheshire hunting community. The police later claimed that they had not in fact been arrested, merely detained û a legal nonsense.

This is far from the first time that Cheshire Police have used mass arrests to unlawfully "intern" anti-hunt protesters without any charges being brought. Last season, 126 saboteurs were arrested, many in batches of up to 30 at a time. Only 2 of these people were ever charged with any offence and even in these cases the charges were later dropped. Until Cheshire police can provide a convincing alternative explanation, one can only assume they are in the habit of arresting large numbers of people who quite manifestly have committed no more criminal act than being opposed to hunting. This amazing approach to what should be fairly run-of-the-mill public order policing is costing the taxpayers of Cheshire dearly in police time and resources which could more effectively be deployed in tackling the epidemic of crime in the area.

Such savage repression harks back to the late 1980s when "internment" tactics were routinely used by many police forces to unlawfully hold saboteurs for the duration of a hunt and then release them without charge at the end of the day. Saboteurs fought back in a wave of legal actions in the early 1990s which cost police forces across the country large sums of money in damages and costs. Most police forces realised this was unsustainable and many have since adopted policies of communication with local saboteur groups. These forward-thinking tactics have resulted in substantial savings in costs, greatly reduced the numbers of officers required to be diverted from fighting crime, and have significantly reduced the trouble at hunts where they have been employed. Unfortunately for the taxpayers of Cheshire, it appears that they will continue to have to foot the bill for their local constabulary's prejudices until such time as Cheshire police are prepared to admit that their policing of hunts is illegal, oppressive, and a decade out of date.

Thugs from Prince Charles' foxhunt given 12-month prison sentences - 10/3/95

Two thugs from the Cheshire Foxhunt, a favourite hunt of Prince Charles, were given twelve month prison sentences at Chester Crown Court today after being found guilty last week of violent disorder. The two men, Geoffrey Park, 30, of The Elms, Tushingham, Whitchurch, Shropshire and Anthony Ronald Kirkham, 50, of Ridley Farm, Ridley, Cheshire had been charged after a vicious gang attack on saboteurs on Saturday 11th December 1993 in which their vehicle was wrecked and a woman was savagely beaten up. Both men have a track record of violence against protesters and Kirkham is said to have served prison sentences for grievous bodily harm and attempted murder.

Park and Kirkham were part of a ten-strong gang of hunt thugs, armed with pickaxe handles and coshes, who smashed up a saboteurs' van and beat up the occupants. On the day in question, Cheshire Police had arrested all the occupants of the van, about a dozen saboteurs, too prevent a breach of the peace, a common tactic in Cheshire when anti-hunt protesters have committed no offence but the police want to intern them for the duration of the hunt. It is, of course, completely illegal, but such niceties have never bothered Cheshire Police when it comes to dealing with hunt saboteurs. Astonishingly the police refused to move the saboteurs' vehicle but instead left it parked in the middle of very hostile hunt supporters at Faddiley, near Nantwich, saying they would ensure it was safe. All those arrested were released without charge at the end of the hunting day and returned to the van about 6.15 p.m. to find it had been so badly vandalised it eventually had to be written off ù the windscreen had been put through, extensive damage was caused to the side panels and doors, and several tyres were slashed, over ú1,000 worth of damage in total.

Saboteurs rang the AA, but while they were waiting for a truck to come out, the hunt thugs, armed with pickaxe handles and coshes, returned to finished the job. This time the ten-strong gang were able to attack not just the van but also its occupants. A 24-year old woman attempted to run for help but was cornered by the gang, punched to the ground by Kirkham, and then kicked and beaten about the head and body as she lay on the floor helpless. She sustained two black eyes, damaged kidneys, and extensive cuts and bruising to her head and body in the vicious attack. The gang then dragged her back to the van and resumed their attack on the van, jumping on the roof and causing further damage to the exterior. While his friends were occupied in trashing the vehicle, Park climbed inside the van and beat up several of the occupants with a cosh.

Kirkham had already shown his propensity for brutal violence against saboteurs, in particular on Boxing Day 1992, when the Cheshire Beagles met at The Poacher in Bickerton near Kirkham's farm. He beat a woman unconscious with a piece of wood and left her lying unconscious in a stream, where she had to be rescued by her fellow saboteurs, who called an ambulance. Her injuries were so severe she had to be airlifted to hospital by a helicopter yet police refused to arrest Kirkham. When her fellow sabs went to Nantwich police station to make statements identifying Kirkham as the culprit they were themselves arrested. Conveniently, all charges were dropped before the case reached court and no-one was ever prosecuted.

Despite these sentences, it is doubtful whether hunt thugs in Cheshire will be deterred from violent attacks on saboteurs: Kirkham certainly has not learnt any sort of lesson from his conviction. He was arrested at the Cheshire Hunt only yesterday after he rammed two saboteurs' vehicles and then rammed a car belonging to a passer-by who was not connected with the hunt or protesters. And this the day before he was to appear in court to be sentenced for one of his many other violent attacks on saboteurs! In another of several violent attacks on saboteurs at the Cheshire Hunt yesterday, a hunt supporter was arrested for threatening a saboteur with an axe.

It seems that thugs in Cheshire think they can have a free hand in attacking anyone who objects to hunting: the police must take firm action to crack down on these hooligans before someone else is killed in Cheshire. Saboteurs are also calling on Prince Charles, who was hunting with the Cheshire as recently as last week, to stop endorsing this extremely violent hunt by refusing to ride with them until they cease attacking anyone who disagrees with them and expel the violent lunatics within their ranks such as Kirkham and Park.

Cheshire Hunts: a culture of violence

The attack on the 12th December was by no means an isolated incident. Other similar attacks around that time include:

  • January 30th 1993 Cheshire Foxhounds: an ITV camera crew filmed Park and Kirkham punching a sab to the ground and beating him up. The police took no action over the attack.
  • In the first six weeks of the cubbing season of 1993, at least one sab was taken to hospital by ambulance every week as a result of being beaten up by hunt thugs.
  • October 23rd 1993 Cheshire Foxhounds: a sab required six stitches to a head wound after being beaten around the head by a hunt rider with the bone handle of his riding whip.
  • October 30th 1993 North Staffs Foxhounds: Park and Kirkham turned up at the hunt meet at Knighton near Worre, Staffs, and beat up a man who required seven stitches to a head wound after a ferocious beating with baseball bats.
  • November 2nd 1993 Cheshire Foxhounds: a sab required 8 stitches to a head wound after being attacked by fifteen men with baseball bats.

Hunt thugs use "IRA-style punishment squads" in terror attacks on northwest saboteurs - 20/2/95

Hunt violence in the northwest took a sinister new turn over the weekend as masked thugs launched a wave of punishment attacks on anti-hunt activists in Manchester and Liverpool. Witnesses described the gang, their faces covered with balaclavas and armed with a variety of weapons, including baseball bats, "knuckle-dusters" and staves, as being "just like the IRA punishment squads". Although the identity of the assailants is not known as yet, all the victims were known saboteurs and both the nature and timing of the attacks, shortly after trouble flared at the Cheshire Foxhunt at the weekend, leave the victims in little doubt that they were singled out for punishment because of their anti-hunt views.

The first two attacks occurred in Liverpool early on Sunday morning. At about 1.30 a.m., four masked men armed with "knuckle-dusters" and baseball bats arrived at an animal rights activist's flat in Liverpool and broke down the door. Extensive damage was caused to both his vehicle and his flat and the cowardly thugs then attempted to drag him out in the street for an IRA-style punishment beating. However, he was able to fight them off and they fled. Fifteen minutes later, the same men arrived at the address of another known saboteur in Liverpool and kicked in the doors of every flat in the block looking for him. Fortunately, he was staying with a friend and so the gang did not find him; they left after causing extensive damage, terrifying the residents of the block.

Serious questions are being asked tonight as to how the men behind the terror beatings knew where to find their victims. The pattern of the attacks indicates someone with access to an official source may have provided confidential information on anti-hunt protesters' home addresses, a closely guarded secret precisely because of attacks like these. Indeed one of the victims, concerned at the possibility of yet further reprisal attacks, does not feel he can report the attack to police, as he has himself been beaten up by police officers at hunts this season and it is believed that a senior member of Cheshire CID is a prominent figure in a local hunt. Local anti-hunt activists are said not to be expecting early arrests to be made in connection with the attacks.

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