Sheffield Hunt Saboteurs express ‘disappointment’ with police response

Sheffield Hunt Saboteurs’ have expressed their disappointment with what they say is a lack of support from South Yorkshire Police on stopping illegal fox hunting.  

The Sheffield-based anti-blood sports campaigners say they have felt let down by the officers and claim South Yorkshire Police have sided with the hunters.

A member of the Sheffield Hunt Saboteurs said: “It feels very frustrating that people see us as the problem and not the people who are breaking the law.”

The saboteurs are a vigilante group that sabotages illegal fox hunts around Yorkshire. The group uses a rehearsed communication approach, distraction techniques, and a separating system to disrupt unlawful hunts.

The saboteurs look to disrupt weekly using anonymous tip-offs from people within the hunts and the experience the group has gathered in the five years of the group’s existence.

In a statement, South Yorkshire Police said: “Fox hunting with dogs is an offence, and we will continue to monitor and review any evidence.

“We would encourage anyone with concerns about this type of crime to report it to our officers so that we can investigate. Reports of this nature are treated seriously and investigated thoroughly.

“If you have any information, please contact 101 or report online.”

Tensions between the saboteurs and those taking part in hunts run high.

A member of the Sheffield Hunt Saboteurs said: “They can be really violent towards us. They’ve slashed our tyres on our vehicles several times.”

Illegal fox hunting is still prevalent in the UK, according to the League Against Cruel Sports, which says there were 303 instances of hunt havoc and unlawful hunting in the space of a month at the end of 2022. 

Further calls for the police to put more pressure on illegal blood sports activities have come after high-profile cases of illegal fox hunting in Wiltshire and Norfolk. 

Fox hunting was banned after the Hunting Act of 2004, which made it illegal to hunt wild mammals using a dog. 

Hunts have claimed they are instead doing what is known as a ‘false trail’, using a previously killed fox and dragging the corpse across fields, creating a scent for the dogs to follow, which is a legal activity. 

To learn more about the UK hunting laws go to https://www.gov.uk/hunting/mammals

Written by Jack Dean

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