WORCESTERSHIRE is reported to be one of the counties with the highest number of suspected illegal fox hunting incidents, according to an animal welfare charity.

According to figures collected by the League Against Cruel Sports, there have been nine eyewitness accounts of suspected illegal fox hunting activity in Worcestershire since the start of the fox hunting season in late October.

The league claimed the incidents involved the Croome and West Warwickshire Hunt, Ledbury Hunt, and Worcestershire Hunt

Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “The League’s focus now will be on ensuring the Conservative Party stands by the animal welfare and animal sentencing promises it made in its manifesto, including ensuring the Hunting Act is not overturned.”

City MP Robin Walker said: “This is a matter for the police to investigate if there is sufficient evidence on this.

“Rightly, all parties care about animal welfare. That is why there was no debate on changing the law at last night’s election.

“The law should stay as it is.”

The incidents involved foxes being chased by hounds - an activity that is illegal under the Hunting Act - or being seen on the run by members of the public when hunts were active nearby.

The figures were published as the Conservative Party manifesto vowed not to change the Hunting Act for the first time since the ban in 2005.

However, ‘trail hunting’ is still used as a sport which involves urine from animals such as foxes, deer and hare being used to lay a trail for hounds to follow.

A spokesman from the Countryside Alliance: “Hunts operate legally within the confines of the Hunting Act but despite this, they are regularly subjected to spurious allegations made by anti-hunting activists. These individuals - who carry recording equipment at all times - make claims about the behaviour of hunts but mysteriously, despite recording hours of footage, have little or no evidence to substantiate their claims.

“There have been over 250,000 days hunting carried out since the Hunting Act was enforced in February 2005, yet less than 30 people associated with registered hunts have been convicted of illegal hunting. If there is any evidence of illegal hunting activity then we would expect it to be taken to the police to be investigated in the appropriate manner, rather than trying to create publicity through the media.”