#TheList William Tatler, born c. 1973, of The Green, Idridgehay, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 2SJ, and Samuel Staniland, born c. 1987, of Hadleigh, Ipswich IP7 – for illegal fox hunting, with cubs being targeted.
Joint master Will Tatler and huntsman Sam Staniland admitted hunting a wild mammal with dogs at Spath Covert, in Sutton-on-the-Hill, Derbyshire, on October 2, 2018.
The men were charged under the Hunting Act 2004, which says people who illegally hunt foxes can be fined but not sent to prison.
Both men are members of the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt (MSSH), which operates in East Staffordshire.
It was the second time people from MSSH have been prosecuted for fox hunting. Two other men from the hunt – Johnny Greenall and Glen Morris – were caught illegally hunting fox cubs in 2011.
The case against four other associates of the hunt was dismissed.
They were assistant terrier man Samuel Stanley, 25, of Burton Road, Needwood; terrier man Andrew Bull, 51, of Meynell Hunt Kennels, Ashbourne Road, Sudbury; whipper-in John ‘Ollie’ Finnegan, 33, of Gaddesby Lane, Kirby Bellars; and joint master Peter Southwell, 61, of Tolldish Lane, Great Haywood.
All six men had previously pleaded not guilty and were set to face trial, but Staniland and Tatler changed their plea to guilty before the trial.
The prosecution came after the League Against Cruel Sports filmed a fox being hunted and gave the footage to police.
League Against Cruel Sports investigator Roger Swaine captured the footage on 2 October 2018 at Spath Covert in Sutton-on-the-Hill, Derbyshire – the same area where two other men from the hunt were caught illegally hunting fox cubs in 2011.
Mr Swaine said they were “cub hunting”, which is when hounds are trained to hunt fox cubs.
“They were in the same place, it was the same hunt, doing exactly the same thing,” said Mr Swaine, who also filmed the previous footage.
He said he was “disappointed” by the fine.
“The problem is they are very well financed and they have a very good legal defence team,” he said.
“To receive just a fine for this barbaric activity shows the need to strengthen the Hunting Act, including the introduction of prison sentences,” he said.
In a statement issued through the Countryside Alliance, the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt said the Hunting Act was “a difficult and troublesome piece of legislation”.
“It is complex and open to misinterpretation,” the statement said.
“The Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt regrets that in this case some individuals were unable to show that they had fulfilled all the conditions of the relevant exemption, as set out in Schedule 1 of the Act.
“The Hunt confirms that moving forward it will continue to operate within the law, utilising both artificial trails and the exemptions provided in the Act.”
Sentencing: fined £535 and ordered to pay £150 towards legal costs.