Six alleged hunt saboteurs deny trying to disrupt Suffolk drag hunt

Waveney Harriers Hunt in Bungay in 2010

Waveney Harriers Hunt in Bungay in 2010 - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2010

Six alleged hunt saboteurs have appeared in court charged with disrupting a Suffolk drag hunt.

The defendants – who each denied two offences – made their first appearances before North East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court in Lowestoft.

The allegations stem from an event held by Waveney Harriers Hunt in October at Ilketshall Hall, Ilketshall St Lawrence, near Halesworth.

Among the accused are Robert Brown, 22, of Greenstead Road, Colchester, Brian Cook, 64, of St George’s Road, Stowlangtoft, near Bury St Edmunds, and Laura Skingle, 34, of George Williams Way, Colchester.

The remaining three defendants are Brian Earey, 43, of Cedars Road, Colchester, Christine Lancaster, 41, of Austen Gardens, Dartford, Kent, and Geraldine Rose, 61, of Rosebery Road, Chelmsford. Each pleaded not guilty to obstructing or disrupting a person engaged in a lawful activity.

It is alleged they trespassed on land and either blew horns, cracked whips, sprayed citronella or shouted abuse with an intention to hinder a trail hunt.

The six accused also denied a further charge of failing to give their names and addresses to a police officer after they were believed to have been acting in an anti-social manner.

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A preliminary date has been set for Cook’s trial which was scheduled for April 20 before Lowestoft magistrates.

Cook was released on conditional bail until then. His conditions are that he does not attend any hunt or shoot in Norfolk and Suffolk.

The cases of remaining five defendants were all adjourned and they were also released on conditional bail.

A date of April 15 has been set for their case management hearings.

However, their next appearances will be before South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court in Ipswich.

The allegations stem from a legal drag hunt.The alleged offences are said to have occurred between 11.30am-1pm on October 25.

A public footpath is near the private land on which the drag hunt took place.

It is understood a number of police officers from Norfolk and Suffolk were in attendance on the day.