On 18th January 2023, six men were arrested, and 22 dogs were seized by the police in a series of raids in several counties in England over suspected illegal fox hunting. RSPCA inspectors and police officers participated in these anti-wildlife-crime operations in Kent, Norfolk, Sussex, and Thames Valley. The men, allegedly terriermen who use terriers to hunt mammals underground, were all later released after questioning while inquiries continued. RSPCA officers seized 10 dogs near Canterbury and Folkestone in Kent, three near Farringdon in Oxfordshire, and nine near Norfolk, near Wisbech.
Kent police confirmed that four men, aged 21, 37, 44 and 61, were arrested in east Kent, Norfolk constabulary said a man in his 50s was arrested in the Wisbech area, and Thames Valley police said a 31-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “A number of warrants took place on Wednesday 18 January across several counties as part of an operation looking into alleged animal welfare and wildlife offences. Our officers joined police officers from the Kent, Sussex, and Norfolk [forces] and with Thames Valley police for warrants at six addresses. We would like to thank all the forces for approaching this large-scale operation collaboratively. As this is now an ongoing investigation we can’t go into any further detail at this time.”
The Hunt Saboteurs Association said: “We’re pleased that these raids have happened and it’s great that the RSPCA and police are finally clamping down. The leaked hunting office webinars described terrier men as the ‘soft underbelly’ of hunting as it’s difficult to justify their presence if the hunts are operating within the law. If hunts are indeed hunting within the law, as they still claim, then there is no need for terriers and terrier men.”