Charges dropped against huntsman

ONE of Scotland's leading huntsmen spoke of his relief yesterday after a charge of flouting the ban on hunting with dogs was dropped.

Trevor Adams, 47, had feared that he faced a second lengthy legal battle to clear his name after being accused of deliberately using hounds to hunt a fox. In December 2004, he became the first huntsman to stand trial charged with breaking the ban - introduced by the now disgraced former MSP Lord Watson - but was found not guilty.

A year later, police again charged the hounds master of Scotland's largest hunt, the Buccleuch, following complaints by members of the public.

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He and fellow hunt members, who now operate as a pest-control service, were invited on to farmland near Eccles, Kelso, on 10 October. However, concern was raised about the pursuit of a fox, which was subsequently killed.

If convicted, he would have faced a fine of up to 5,000 or six months in jail. However, the Borders procurator-fiscal, Graham Fraser, has confirmed that he will be taking no further proceedings.

Last night, Mr Adams said: "I fully expected this to be the outcome and, obviously, I am very happy and relieved there will no court case.

We are well aware of what the law is and how we can operate within it. There is room within the law to provide a pest control facility and to allow people to get on to their horses. Under the new legislation, the fox is killed quicker.

"There is still a problem with members of the public who are mistakenly under the impression we are breaking the law because they see the hounds and don't hear the gun going off and that leads to the complaints."