Police photo showing an illegal lock knife next to a ruler.

Responding to reports of illegal hunting, Essex Police found blocked setts and a rider carrying a knife

On 31 December 2022, Essex Rural, Wildlife and Heritage Crime Team tweeted about reports of illegal hunting near Abridge. It said that blocked badger setts were found, as well as a rider carrying a lock knife.

Protect the Wild contacted Essex Police, which said:

We received a call at 1.30pm on Friday 30 December reporting an alleged illegal hunt in Church Lane, Abridge. Officers attended and spoke to a number people, carried out searches and seized mobile phones and a lock knife. During the incident, it was reported two members of the public were assaulted.

It was also alleged access to a badger sett had been blocked which would be an offence under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.

On 31 December, North London Hunt Saboteurs and Suffolk & Essex Hunt Sabs said that the hunt in question was the Essex with Farmers and Union Hunt.

Protect the Wild understands that the incident of alleged illegal hunting took place in Great Wood, just off Church Lane. It’s also understood that no hunt saboteurs were present on the day.

Essex Police also said:

If you have any information, CCTV, dash cam or other footage in relation to this incident, then please get in contact with us. Please quote incident 605 of 30 December.

You can contact the police via 101 or by using the force’s website live chat.

Getting off to a rough start

Protect the Wild recently reported on a future merger of the Essex with Farmers and Union Hunt with the Puckeridge Hunt. It was publicly revealed through a Hunting Office advertisement for positions in the new hunt, named the Puckeridge & Essex Union Hunt, for the 2023/24 season.

Ads for hunt staff at the new Puckeridge & Essex Union Hunt, via screenshot.

The Essex with Farmers and Union Hunt is itself the result of a 2018 amalgamation between the Essex Hunt and Essex Farmers and Union Hunt.

North London Hunt Saboteurs shared footage of hunt supporters racially abusing one of its members. The abuse took place during a joint meet between the Essex with Farmers and Union Hunt and Puckeridge Hunt on 17 December 2022. The sab group told Protect the Wild it is also pursuing a case of assault against another member from the same day.

With those incidents and this latest news of potential illegal hunting, it looks like Essex’s latest hunt will get off to a rough start.

Featured image via Essex Police