POLICE have closed a high-profile investigation into the killing of a fox on private land by a hunt.

CCTV appears to show the Kimblewick Hunt chasing the wild animal on a private industrial estate near Thame, and huntsman feeding the carcass to the hounds.

The death, which happened near Ford, on the Oxfordshire-Buckinghamshire border on December 12, was reported to Thames Valley Police.

At the time, hunt supporters and opponents clashed over whether the kill was indeed deliberate or accidental.

Footage published by ITV News shows the riders entering a farm with a pack of dogs, pursuing the fox which is trying to run away.

However, despite the video evidence, the force has filed the investigation into the hunt.

A spokesperson for the force said: “Thames Valley Police conducted a full and thorough investigation into allegations of offences under the Hunting Act 2004, which were reported to the force in December 2020.

“Having reviewed all the available evidence including CCTV, mobile phone footage and witness statements, the Crown Prosecution Service concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.

“Based on this advice, the investigation has been filed, pending further information coming to light.”

At the time the Kimblewick Hunt told ITV News that the fox was killed ‘accidentally’ and that their hounds had been following a trail when some deviated off the scent.

It is illegal to hunt foxes with dogs. ‘Drag’ or ‘trail’ hunting is permitted in which hunts use dogs to simulate hunting.

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The decision has been heavily criticised by animal rights group the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA). Spokesman Lee Moon said: “There are two possible conclusions that we can draw from Thames Valley Police’s decision not to prosecute the Kimblewick.

“They have watched completely different footage from the rest of the nation and genuinely believe the hunts version of events or they are lackeys to the powerful Kimblewick and have again done their masters bidding and made this little problem disappear.”

Kimblewick hunt is caught on CCTV

Kimblewick hunt is caught on CCTV

In 2019 two men were convicted of animal cruelty after dragging a trapped fox from a tunnel during a Kimblewick Hunt meet in Moreton, near Thame.

Ian James Kirby Parkinson, of Lower Road, Haddenham, and Mark Anthony Vincent, of Kimblewick, Aylesbury, were found guilty at Oxford Magistrates’ Court of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.