AN ANIMAL rights activist who tried to disrupt a fox hunt while wearing “paramilitary clothing” the day after the Bataclan terror attacks offended “heightened sensitivities”, bysaid a sheriff.

Kevin Newell, 33, and a group of fox hunt saboteurs donned camouflage trousers and jackets as well as balaclavas before going out on the roads of Fife the day after the Paris atrocities.

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A sheriff told Newell there were “heightened sensitivities” that would have left members of the public in fear when they saw him. Police said Newell had followed the hunt pack and behaved in an “intimidating” manner.

A trial at Dundee Sheriff Court heard that Newell and other saboteurs had intercepted vehicles heading to hunts in north east Fife on November 14 and November 21. On both occasions they were dressed in what hunt supporters described as “paramilitary” clothing with their faces covered by balaclavas.

They followed hunt vehicles, “intimidating” hunt supporters in the process.
Newell, who runs a “100 per cent humane, ethical and non-lethal” pest control firm in Aberdeen, was found guilty after trial of two offences of behaving in a threatening and abusive manner. Sheriff George Way imposed a community payback order with 90 hours unpaid work.

He said: “This was a time of heightened sensitivities given the Bataclan attacks.

READ MORE: Animal rights groups accuse Scottish police of pro-fox hunting bias

“People would have seen him and wouldn’t have known what was going on.”

Detective Inspector Colin Robson, of Police Scotland’s Fife Division, said: said fox hunting was a “divisive” and “emotive issue” but there was no excuse for committing criminal acts “There is a right to peacefully and lawfully protest in a public place and a procedure for legally hunting with dogs.,” he said. “ In this case, Newell’s behaviour was unacceptable and it should send a clear message to anyone intending to disrupt a hunt in this way that we will take action.”