Robert Cundy

CONVICTED! Terrierman guilty after terrorising monitors on quad bike

Robert Cundy (pictured above), terrierman for the Essex and Suffolk Hunt, pleaded guilty on 14 June to breaking a Community Protection Notice (CPN). A CPN can be issued by a court as punishment for persistent antisocial behaviour.

Suffolk Action for Wildlife (SAF) consistently monitors the hunt. Protect the Wild chatted to SAF’s Anna about the police and court’s grounds for issuing the CPN, as well as the subsequent conviction. She explained:

The CPN was put on Robert Cundy because he kept driving his quad, primarily at me and my car. And he would drive really, really fast and really close to other monitors, and we know that in the past sabs and monitors have been hit by quads and been injured. He would also routinely drive past cars and deliberately slide towards them to spray them with mud and stones. Suffolk Police’s Wildlife Crime Unit said to us that each individual situation wasn’t actually a crime, but what they could do is put a CPN on him, which they did. So they outlined a series of things that he could and couldn’t do – he couldn’t drive within two metres of monitors; he had to go at a crawl’s pace; he wasn’t allowed to throw mud up onto monitors or vehicles belonging to monitors; and basically he just had to behave around us. But Mr Cundy found this impossible.”


SAF told us that Cundy had initially wanted to appeal the CPN being imposed on him, but that he withdrew the appeal. Despite the CPN being in place, and despite knowing that he would be closely monitored by SAF on the ground, Cundy continued to try to make life hell for wildlife monitors. SAF said:

Within a few weeks he had already broken the CPN. We got it on video, so then he was given a warning by the police. But another time he rode towards us with two other people on the back of the quad – a quad is only designed for one person, at best two people – and he was on the road. We got this on video. And then they went and arrested him and charged him for breaching the CPN, which is now a criminal offence in itself.”

Having been charged, Cundy was given bail conditions restricting him from attending hunting meets, meaning that he was unable to continue with his terrierman role for the majority of the 2023 season. 

At the plea hearing on 14 June, SAF had expected him to plead not guilty, but to the group’s surprise, he pleaded guilty.


Essex and Suffolk Hunt's Jamie Price carries away the dead fox who was killed on 23 December 2023
Violence and killing is the default for the Essex and Suffolk Hunt. Whipper-in Jamie Price carries away a fox killed on 23 December 2023. Via Suffolk Action for Wildlife

A joint effort

Anna explained that the monitors had a good relationship with Suffolk Police throughout, which helped secure the conviction. She said:

“I would say that Suffolk Wildlife Crime Unit has been excellent and have really worked hard to get this through to this stage. They really have gone above and beyond. There were about 20 different videos that they put forward as evidence, plus about 10 different witness statements, so there was a lot of work involved with it. As monitors, we made it our business that every time we went out we would video Robert Cundy to pass on to the police. So it’s been a joint effort.

Despite it being a victory that Cundy was convicted, his punishment was laughable: a £100 fine, £85 costs and a £45 victim surcharge. But Anna was positive, saying:

It’s only been a slap on the wrist but it’s a start. We are hoping that Cundy’s conviction might persuade other terriermen not to drive like lunatics. We also have another terrierman, Sam Watkins, on trial next week on similar charges.”

Violence is the norm for this hunt

SAF has previously explained to Protect the Wild that it sees the Essex and Suffolk Hunt chasing foxes week in, week out, and that hunt members are often violent – not just the thugs employed as terriermen, but also the riders who use their horses as weapons if they want to stop SAF from videoing. Anna said:

“Robert Cundy has been in court for assault at least on two occasions. Both times he’s got away with it. James Buckle – who was the senior huntmaster until this season – always employs expensive barristers to defend him. He’s known for being violent and we’ve had lots of problems with him.”

On top of all this, Sam Staniland, ex-huntsman for the Essex and Suffolk, has been accused of a massive six charges under the Animal Welfare Act, for failing to prevent dogs from fighting foxes and badgers. The hunter pleaded not guilty to all six charges back in December 2023.


Essex and Suffolk Hunt's Jamie Price tries to prevent a hunt sab from filming a murdered fox
Essex and Suffolk Hunt’s Jamie Price tries to prevent a hunt sab from filming a murdered fox. Via Suffolk Action for Wildlife

Support those on the ground

The police and CPS only take action against hunts like the Essex and Suffolk because of the dedicated work of monitors and hunt saboteurs on the ground. SAF previously told us that their “reason to live is chasing down the Essex and Suffolk Hunt.” The group has been consistently monitoring the hunt for three seasons now.

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Images by Suffolk Action for Wildlife