Leicestershire & Rutland Rural Policing Team at Cottesmore Hunt thugs arrest and removal of vehicles

Cottesmore Hunt’s masked thugs arrested

After weeks of violently harassing hunt saboteurs, some of the Cottesmore Hunt’s hired gang of thugs have been arrested by Leicestershire Police.

On Saturday 2 March, Northants Hunt Sabs wrote:

“We are currently sabbing the criminal Cottesmore Hunt in Wymondham which has seen the police turn up in force to arrest their hired thugs!”

Meanwhile, Leicestershire and Rutland Rural Policing Team posted the image in our header with the following text:

“Earlier today, our dedicated ‘Op Enlighten’ officers successfully arrested two suspects on suspicion of several offences. We are aware of various social media videos circulating in which offences are suspected of being committed. It is alleged that these individuals are associated with hunt activities although we cannot confirm at this time.
A vehicle containing drugs was also recovered and the driver arrested on suspicion of driving whilst under the influence of drugs.
As we move forward, please rest assured that we remain committed to upholding the law without fear or favour and protecting our wider rural community.
Please avoid any speculation or opinion with comments on this post.

leics and rutland rural policing team vehicle

Constant attacks and threats

Just days before the arrest, Northants Sabs wrote that on 24 February:

“More threats of violence and intimidation were dished out towards members of our group from the Cottesmore’s hired thugs. One woman was threatened with physical violence for simply responding to a question and others were threatened about where they live.

This all happened in front of Leicestershire police officers who were called in regards to road traffic offences that took place earlier in the day.”

Protect the Wild has previously covered how the hunt’s masked thugs have relentlessly targeted the saboteurs who try to prevent them chasing and killing foxes. More incidents include:

  • 13 January: “ten plus” masked thugs attacking the sabs’ vehicle and trying to gain access to the sabs themselves. Northants Hunt Sabs’ account of that incident stated:

“As sabs monitored their movements, the Cottesmore’s hired henchmen came down the Colsterworth road just east of Stainby and blocked all traffic. Again, balaclava wearing thugs exited the vehicles, spilt out across the road and ran towards our vehicle. Blocked from the rear also, sabs tried to move forward surrounded by the mob. A hammer went into the windscreen as the vehicle’s wing mirror was ripped off. Again, the Cottesmore’s gang desperately tried to get into the vehicle and the sabs inside. For the third time that day some inspired driving got sabs around the blocking vehicle and away.”

  • 6 January: the sabs were followed by four men wearing balaclavas, with matching puffy jackets. The men prevented the sabs from following the hunt by surrounding them and using physical force. The female sabs were thrown to the ground and dragged through the mud. Leicestershire Police stated at the time that it was investigating.


The Cottesmore is one of the most violent hunts in the country. Some more examples of its riders targeting hunt saboteurs over the years include:

  • In August 2023, huntsman Sam Jones appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to common assault after his horse leapt a fence while a sab was standing on the other side. As a result, the horse hit the saboteur.



  • In September 2021, hunt saboteur Mel Broughton suffered broken ribs when a Cottesmore Hunt steward assaulted him. He drifted in and out of consciousness before being rushed to hospital. At the time, a hunt sab told the London Economic that Broughton was attacked and “pulled clean off” a gate.


  • Broughton was targeted yet again in December 2021 by members of the Cottesmore after he was trying to check on an injured horse. The horse later died.



Welcome arrests

We have previously written that the police need to act to stop the Cottesmore thugs before yet another incident like that described of Mel Broughton happens again. The news of arrests will obviously be very welcome for the hunt saboteurs being targeted. For the sake of these saboteurs risking their lives, we can only hope that Leicestershire Police takes the assaults seriously and properly polices the Cottestmore Hunt in the future.