Undercover footage captures Bures man 'attacking fox with garden fork'
- Credit: North London Hunt Saboteurs
A 48-year-old has been arrested after secretly filmed footage emerged of a man attacking a fox with a garden fork in Essex. WARNING: Graphic and distressing content.
Essex Police said the man, from the Bures area, was arrested after the force received reports of animal cruelty but has since been released under investigation.
The incident is believed to have taken place on December 4 in woodland near Colchester, Essex Police said.
The man was arrested on suspicion of offences under the Hunting Act 2004, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Wild Mammal Protection Act 1996.
The covert footage was captured by North London Hunt Saboteurs and shows a man repeatedly stabbing at the fox with the fork.
He eventually leaves with the fox in hand.
Jackie Cox, from North London Hunt Saboteurs, told ITV News: "It's absolutely nothing to do with vermin control. It's just gratuitous torturing. There's no other explanation for it.
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"It's just awful. I really didn't want to look at it, but I knew I had to, and [I was] just trying not to cry really."
The fox is believed to have been trapped in an artificially created den.
The 'artificial fox earths' are usually sunken concrete chambers built into the ground.
A spokesman for North London Hunt Saboteurs added: "The use of artificial earths is not necessary for so-called trail hunting.
"It's torture. It's not just one or two jabs. It's prolonged and the raw footage goes on for about four minutes."
A spokeswoman for Essex Police said: "It was reported to us on Sunday, December 19 and officers from our rural engagement team launched an investigation, leading to the arrest."
Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact Essex Police on 101, citing reference 42/296167/21.
A local hunt told ITV that they have "been made aware of an incident on December 4 which does not involve any of the hunt’s employees and is unrelated to any activities of the hunt who were not out hunting on that day. In light of this [we are] making further enquiries."