Hertfordshire Constabulary logo and generic hunt scene to illustrate police issuing Puckeridge and Essex Union Hunt a community protection notice

Police slap a newly merged hunt with an ‘ASBO’ before it’s even got going

Police in Hertfordshire have slapped the Puckeridge and Essex Union Hunt with a Community Protection Notice (CPN). The requirements of the notice are extensive and will hamper the pack’s week-to-week hunting.

On 26 July, Hertfordshire Constabulary announced it had issued a CPN to the Puckeridge and Essex Union Hunt. The stipulations of the notice include 16 measures that the hunt must abide by within the county. They include:

  • Creating a map of every trail laid, plus having video evidence available of said trails for the police.
  • Providing police with a map of the day’s hunting including road crossings 24 hours in advance of the meet itself.
  • The hunt must keep hounds on the line of an artificially laid trail. If hounds deviate from the trail, the hunt itself must be suspended.
  • Gaining prior written permission from every landowner for the hunt’s presence on their land.
  • Not to disrupt traffic on a public road, and to pick dog poo up on public rights of way or verges.


The measures also notably mention cubbing, the early period of the hunting season in which young hounds are trained to chase and kill by hunting fox cubs. The Puckeridge and Essex Union Hunt must provide police with the details of where and when the hunt will take place as well as those in attendance.

Cubbing season begins in August. Fortunately, the CPN is effective immediately. Should the hunt fail to meet any of the 16 measures, Herts police said it could face a court summons.

These measures mean that the hunt will need to plan a day’s hunting in advance and stick to it – something that would effectively be impossible while hunting a fox. However, it doesn’t prevent the hunt from laying trails in and around areas where foxes are known to live.

Anti-social behaviour

The Puckeridge and Essex Union Hunt is a newly amalgamated hunt of the Puckeridge Hunt and Essex with Farmers and Union Hunt. Hertfordshire Constabulary and Essex Constabulary respectively had issued both hunts with Community Protection Warnings in 2022.

However, Herts police said it sought a full CPN after anti-social behaviour by the hunts continued despite the warnings. North London Hunt Saboteurs reported in mid-December 2022 that members of the Puckeridge Hunt had racially abused a Black member of its group, while Protect the Wild previously reported on police finding members of the Essex with Farmers and Union Hunt equipped with an illegal lock knife.

Police photo showing an illegal lock knife next to a ruler.
Lock knife found on a member of the Essex with Farmers and Union Hunt.

Meanwhile, East Herts Hunt Sabs said:

“Our statements and video evidence contributed to the hunt being served with a Community Protection Warning by the Rural Operations Support Team (ROST) in October 2022 which they have repeatedly breached, and our footage helped to bring their huntsman to court for illegal hunting earlier this year.”

Former Puckeridge huntsman Arun Squire narrowly avoided a conviction in May after he hunted a fox on Boxing Day 2021. Proof of intent to hunt a fox is required to secure a conviction under the Hunting Act, and there wasn’t enough evidence to show this. As a result, Squire got away with it. Nonetheless, the judge described Squire’s actions on the day as “deeply suspicious”.

New precedent

Warwickshire Police issued the Warwickshire Hunt with a CPN in December 2022. That notice was the result of hunt havoc on roads and included the stipulation that advanced warning of road crossings must be provided to Warwickshire Constabulary. And Protect the Wild said at the time that:

“Warwickshire Rural Crime Team’s bold decision may have set a new precedent for taking on the hunting industry.”

Now, Herts police’s CPN goes even further. It won’t stop the Puckeridge and Essex Union Hunt from hunting – the Warwickshire Hunt continued hunting after a brief break – and the notice won’t stop it from ‘accidentally’ chasing foxes. Moreover, it only applies to hunts taking place in Hertfordshire. However, it provides sabs with another tool to disrupt the hunt and keep it in check.

Read Protect the Wild’s plans for a proper ban on hunting.

Featured image via Not enough megapixels/Flickr

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