melgreak hunt chases fox on to roof

Shocking moment fox cowers on residential roof to escape hunt

In November 2022 shocking images of a terrified fox cowering on the roof of a house emerged on social media. The poor animal had been trying to escape out-of-control foxhounds belonging to the Melbreak Hunt, who had been illegally hunting (according to eyewitness reports) on National Trust owned-land at Whiteside, east of Loweswater.

The Melbreak, based out of Cockermouth, is one of six fell packs who hunt on foot in the Lake District National Park. The UK’s largest National Park, the Lake District is a World Heritage Site visited by millions every year who come to enjoy its stunning wildlife, beautiful fells and remote landscapes. Hunting was banned indefinitely on both National Trust and Lake District National Park Authority land in June 2022 following the leaked ‘smokescreen webinars’ which proved that trail hunting was a smokescreen for traditional hunting. The Melbreak has been repeatedly warned in writing not to hunt these areas.

The eyewitness account we have posted below is a record of the entitlement and arrogance that hunts like the Melbreak routinely show. It proves just how quickly utter disregard for the public and for landowners can spiral into an extremely stressful incident – one that was reported to the police as it unfolded and which they should never have allowed to take place.



In Their Own Words: Eyewitness account of law-breaking by the Melbreak Hunt

This whole incident could have been avoided if the operator/officer who took my call had put his prejudices aside and responded to my request for help.”

On Wednesday, 9 November 22, the Melbreak Hunt were out on National Trust land illegally hunting. During this activity they were trespassing on my land and that of my neighbours even though they have been instructed in writing not to do so. I am a member of a group of landowners who are tired of these people who have no respect for the law and cause damage to our land by wrecking stone walls, fences, young trees and plants. We have therefore formed an organisation and taken legal advice where we were recommended to send out a pre-action letter instructing all hunt packs to keep off our land before applying to the courts for an injunction. The Melbreak have received this letter.

On hearing, then seeing the hounds, I first called the National Trust warden who asked me to inform the police. I then phoned 101 at round 12.45 pm to ask for help from the police. My call was answered by a very unpleasant man who told me that trespassing is not illegal and that he had no intention of doing anything about it. His unpleasant manner and speech led me to believe that he is a hunt supporter. I realise that he is entitled to his opinions but he is certainly NOT entitled to bring them to his work. He asked me if I had seen a fox which is extremely difficult due to distance and lots of bracken on the fell, so rather than lie, I said no but that they were definitely onto a fox because I recognised the horn sounds made by the huntsman (I was taught to recognise the different sounds by a friend who was brought up in a hunting family but rejected it because of the cruelty involved). The operator then stated again that he was not prepared to send out an officer so I asked to speak to his senior officer which he refused. I then asked to be put through to police complaints but was put through to a number which cut out.

I have now made a formal complaint to the police about this man.

Because of the police operator/officer refusing to do his job, I had to collect evidence by myself so I phoned the wildlife officer and left a message on her voicemail then I went up the fell with a neighbour to get some photos and video footage which have now been provided to the police.

When I reached the fell wall, I could see the hounds running over the front of Whiteside. After some time, I heard the huntsman sound his horn again sending the dogs after a fox. The pack then descended, most on the land of my neighbours and some on mine. When I returned home I found two hounds in my house (one actually urinating on my living room door) and others in the garden I had left my door open for my dogs whilst I was out because one of my collies is very frightened when the hounds are around and usually hides in the house.

Finding the hounds in the house really upset him and he is still very stressed.

After removing the hounds from the house I received a call from a neighbour telling me that there was a fox on his roof after having been chased there by the hounds. I didn’t want to disturb it because there were lots of hounds, totally out of control at this point running around the garden and on the road so I phoned the police again.

Eventually, after a discussion with the wildlife officer, a police officer turned up and witnessed the terrified fox cowering on the roof. This was at least 3.5 hours after my initial call.

This whole incident could have been avoided if the operator/officer who took my call had put his prejudices aside and responded to my request for help.”

If you would like to express your support for these homeowners and demand action be taken against the Melbreak and other fell packs please contact the Lake District National Park Authority by email or phone 01539724555 and the National Trust by email or phone 0344 800 1895

See also Lancashire Hunt Sabs on Facebook