A VIDEO showing a fox being dug out of a hole and then chased by a pack of hounds breached Scotland’s fox hunting legislation, according to a wildlife crime police officer.

James Hood, 52, told Jedburgh Sheriff Court that while it was illegal to deliberately hunt a wild mammal with a dog there were some exceptions to that.

Commenting on videos of the Jedforest Hunt filmed by investigators from the League Against Cruel Sports, he said: “A fox can be flushed by dogs from cover to guns. My opinion from the footage of the two incidents is that the fox is pursued by a number of hounds across open ground with one or two horsemen and other persons present. The pursuit is beyond what is allowed in the exception.”

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The court was told that lawyers acting for two huntsmen accused of breaching Scotland’s fox hunting laws intend to lead evidence during the trial saying that the dogs were flushing the fox towards a gunman who was in the dead ground area and where he shot the fox.

But Mr Hood said he could not hear any gunshots on the videos during the incidents or any sign of gunmen. He also visited the scene Townfoothill near Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, in March 2016 - three weeks after the alleged offence - and discovered the carcass of a fox in the dead ground area.

All that was remaining was a vertebrae and three legs intact and round the paws there was some red fur.Mr Hood said a post-mortem was carried out on the carcass  and there was no evidence that the fox had been shot.

Father and son John Clive Richardson, 66, and Johnny Riley, 24, of the Jedforest Hunt, deny deliberately hunting a fox with hounds.