Master of Borders hunt charged with breaking fox-hunting laws

The Lauderdale Hunt out on Boxing Day last year.
The Lauderdale Hunt out on Boxing Day last year.

Scotland’s only female master of the hunt has been accused of breaching fox- hunting laws.

Claire Bellamy has been charged by police after concerns were raised about practices employed by the Lauderdale Hunt at a meeting in the Borders last October.

The 42-year-old has been master of the hunt, based at Trabrown, near Lauder, since last year after moving to Scotland from her native Devon.

League Against Cruel Sports investigators secretly filmed the October 24 hunt on land near Galashiels and passed on their footage to the police.

Officers have now confirmed that a report will be sent to the procurator fiscal.

PC Andy Loughlin, Police Scotland’s wildlife crime officer for the Lothians and Borders, said: “We take all reports of wildlife offences very seriously, and criminality against our natural environment in Scotland will not be tolerated.

“I would encourage any members of the public with any concerns to contact police on 101. Each area has a dedicated wildlife crime officer who will be able to help.”

Scottish law was changed 16 years ago to ban the hunting of foxes with dogs, but hunts are still allowed to meet so long as they observe the 2002 Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act.

That act states that dogs are still allowed to chase foxes as long as a marksman shoots their quarry dead before the hounds reach them.