Cheshire Police have summoned a man to court on illegal hunting charges

Cheshire Police have issued a summons for a Northwich-based man to attend court on two illegal hunting charges.

The unnamed man faces two charges under Section 1 of the Hunting Act. The first relates to an incident that occurred at Chorley Green on 22 November 2022. The second relates to an incident a few days later, on 26 November, at Marbury.

The summons requires him to attend Crewe Magistrates Court on 13 June.

A police spokesperson told local paper the Northwich Guardian that:

“A 37-year-old man from Northwich has been summonsed to court following an investigation by Cheshire Police’s rural crime team.

“He will appear at Crewe Magistrates Court in June to face two counts of hunting a wild mammal with dogs under the Hunting Act 2004.”

The spokesperson also emphasised that the charges are now live and information that could influencing the case is prejudicial.

Police review

Cheshire was ground zero for a row over policing of hunting throughout 2018 and 2019. As the Canary reported at the time, a string of high-profile incidents that saw sabs and monitors witness hunts kill five times in just a few weeks led to a furore. It even led to former Chester MP Chris Matheson tweeting out in disgust at the state of hunting in the region.

The commotion died down after then-police and crime commissioner (PCC) David Keane held an inquiry into the county’s policing of hunting. Keane also convened a public meeting on the issue, which was attended by more than 70 locals.

Protect the Wild asked Cheshire Monitors in January how the review had impacted policing in the county. It said:

“After [the review] the police attendance was more consistent. Training on hunting and the Hunting Act, and encouraging an understanding of why monitors and Sabs were following hunts, was more thorough and widespread.”

All of this preceded the major change in policing prompted by the conviction of former head of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, Mark Hankinson. Nonetheless, despite this, there has not yet been a successful conviction for illegal hunting in Cheshire.

Join the club

However, these latest charges may change that. With two counts of illegal hunting ready to go, Cheshire may join the rapidly expanding club of counties that have successfully got hunt members up in court.

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