Two members of the Jedforest Hunt in the Borders have been found guilty of illegal fox hunting at Jedburgh Sheriff Court in what is the first successful mounted fox hunting prosecution under the law which bans hunting.

Father and son, 66 year old Clive Richardson and 23 year old Johnathon Riley both denied deliberately hunting a wild mammal on land surrounding Townfoothill near Jedburgh on 18th February 2016 but today 29th June 2017 were found guilty.

The guilty verdict against whipper-in, Richardson and huntsman, Riley was reached with the help of video evidence supplied by the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland which showed the pair from Abbotrule, Bonchester Bridge breaching Section 1(2) of The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002.

Robbie Marsland, Director of the League Against Cruel Sports, Scotland said: “Today’s guilty verdict is the first successful prosecution for mounted fox hunting in Scotland and while we’re delighted with the outcome, and our role in this, we remain of the view that the law needs strengthening.

“The Scottish Government has committed to consult on the hunt ban following a review by Lord Bonomy, who clearly stated there was evidence of lawbreaking by Scottish hunts. In finding Johnathon Riley and Clive Richardson guilty, Sheriff Patterson has confirmed this to be the case.

“We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to strengthen the law and hope today sends a clear message to hunts that flouting the law will not be tolerated and those who continue to hunt illegally in Scotland will be brought to justice.”

Hunting has featured on the political agenda in recent weeks with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently confirming the Scottish Government’s opposition to fox hunting in response to a question in FMQs. In stark contrast, the Conservative manifesto ahead of the General Election includes a pledge to give MPs at Westminster a free vote to repeal the law which bans hunting in England and Wales.