West Norfolk Foxhounds chase and kill a fox in a residential garden

Norfolk police charge three men over viral footage hunting incident

Norfolk Constabulary has said that it’s filed a number of charges against three men from the West Norfolk Foxhounds over two hunting incidents in February.

According to the police, the first of these incidents occurred at Tittleshall on 8 February, during which Norfolk/Suffolk Hunt Saboteurs said the West Norfolk Foxhounds chased a fox. The second incident relates hounds from the same hunt killing a fox in a residential garden in Hingham on 22 February. Footage of this was caught by the home’s CCTV camera, and the video hit national headlines at the time.

Norfolk Constabulary said it had made the following charges:

  • Two counts of illegal hunting at Tittleshall and Hingham.
  • Two counts of being in charge of a dangerously out-of-control dog in Tittleshall and Hingham
  • Three counts of criminal damage to a property in Hingham.

And the three people involved were huntsman Edward “Mikey” Bell, whipper-in Adam Egginton, and master Andrew Kendall. It’s not currently clear who faces which charges.

Police also laid a further charge each against Egginton and Kendall of encouraging or assisting the commission of a crime. The plea hearing is set for 23 June.

Sadly, in both incidents, the West Norfolk Foxhounds appears to have killed the fox it was chasing.

west norfolk terrierman

West Norfolk Foxhounds – organised crime group?

It’s the first time that people connected to the West Norfolk Foxhounds have faced Hunting Act charges. However, it comes just a few months after three members of the Norfolk-based Dunston Harriers went to trial for chasing a hare in 2022. Magistrates found those three not guilty. But it nonetheless reflected changing attitudes.

Hunts haven’t changed their attitudes, nor have local sab and monitor groups changed their actions. The latter has repeatedly exposed the former for their cruel activities for years. What has changed, however, is the police’s willingness to take hunting with hounds seriously as a crime.

As Protect the Wild previously reported, senior police officer Matt Longman publicly commended Wiltshire Hunt Saboteurs for its role in exposing the disgraced Avon Vale Hunt. Longman had also stated to the Times that he believed illegal hunting is “prolific”. And these statements came roughly a year after Wild Mammal Persecution UK had said that two police forces were starting to treat hunts as organised crime groups.

Police in Norfolk were involved in coordinated nationwide raids on terriermen and hunt kennels in January this year. The event was the first sign that what Wild Mammal Persecution UK had said might be true. Now it appears Norfolk Constabulary is continuing to tug on the thread of the rapidly unravelling hunting industry.

West Norfolk Hounds tear up fox in garden

The tide has turned

Responding to the news, Norfolk/Suffolk Hunt Saboteurs flagged up a name change on the hunt’s official documents. Its registered name on Companies House changed on 8 May from West Norfolk Foxhounds Ltd to WNTH. The sab group said this may stand for West Norfolk Trail Hounds.

A name change isn’t convincing anyone, though. It’s clear this hunt terrorises and kills just like its kin. And even though a guilty verdict may bring a pitiful penalty, the charges alone are another sign that the tide has finally turned against the hunting industry.

Read more about the campaign to end hunting here.

Featured image via ITV News