Daniel Cherriman, the huntsman of the South Shropshire Hunt, in the West Midlands region of England, pleaded guilty in November 2022 to hunting a wild mammal with dogs, an offence under the Hunting Act 2004. The incident took place in November 2021 at Inwood, the Longmynd, Church Stretton, Shropshire, which is owned by the National Trust (NT), less than a week after the National Trust board ratified the membership vote to ban “trail hunting” on its land. Trail hunting is the false alibi hunt in England used to cover illegal hunting.
The video presented as evidence of this case shows Cherriman encouraging his hounds onto a fox and then doing nothing to stop them when they hunt the animal, which is already an offence under the Hunting Act 2004 (the act prohibits the pursuit of wild mammals with dogs, regardless if the mammals are eventually caught and killed). Cherriman pleaded guilty on the condition that charges were dropped against his mounted assistant (called “whipper-in” in hunting lingo) Oliver Beasley, who was also due to stand trial.
Three other huntsmen were also due in court in early November for alleged illegal hunting, but the cases have been adjourned. John Holiday, ex-huntsman of the Belvoir Hunt in Leicestershire, and Will Hanson, ex-huntsman of the Fernie Hunt also in Leicestershire, will both face trial in March 2023, whilst Arun Squire, huntsman of the Puckeridge Hunt in East Anglia, will stand trial in May. Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association stated, “the fact that four huntsmen were due to stand trial on illegal hunting charges in the same week is indicative of the widespread lawbreaking that is taking place by hunts across the country. This is a particularly interesting case as it’s not clear whether the fox was killed by hounds but the fact that the huntsman didn’t call them off was enough for him to plead guilty. Hopefully, this is a sign that courts are fed up with the widespread flouting of the law by hunts and are starting to apply the law more rigorously.”