Two members of the Quantock Staghounds accused of allegedly illegally hunting a deer with hounds are to face trial at Taunton Deane Magistrates’ Court on Monday, November 12.

Huntsman Richard Down aged 54 of West Bagborough near Taunton, and whipper-in Martin Watts aged 55 of Washford, are being prosecuted for alleged illegal hunting with dogs on 22ndJanuary 2018, contrary to Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004.

The two men made a first appearance in court earlier this week at Taunton Deane Magistrates and pleaded not guilty – the forthcoming trial in November is expected to last two days.

The high-profile case is based on evidence provided to Avon & Somerset Police by investigators employed by the League Against Cruel Sports, which is an animal welfare charity.

The case comes 13 years after hunting was banned in England and Wales with the introduction of the Hunting Act 2004, which came into force in February 2005.