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'Incredibly dangerous' - Farmer furious after hunt party marks scent trail on land

PUBLISHED: 16:40 08 October 2019

Members of hunt group the Dunston Harriers said they made a navigation error and ended up on a private farm without permission. Photo: Submitted

Members of hunt group the Dunston Harriers said they made a navigation error and ended up on a private farm without permission. Photo: Submitted

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A farmer said she is furious that a hunt group marked a scent trail through her land, despite being refused access the day before.

Horse and dog tracks left on farm by trail hunt group. Photo: SubmittedHorse and dog tracks left on farm by trail hunt group. Photo: Submitted

Sarah Gladden, a farmer from Great Ellingham, has hit out at local trail hunt group The Dunston Harriers, after discovering horse and dog prints in a crop field, just hours after telling them not to enter the farm.

The group approached the farmer on Monday night to request access the next morning as part of a trail hunt, but Ms Gladden refused, fearing it would damage crops and cause problems with her own dogs.

However, at about 10am on Tuesday, she discovered fresh horse and dog tracks in a field of crops.

Ms Gladden said: "I walk my dogs off lead on the farm and it could have been incredibly dangerous if I had been out there at the same time. There are lots of pet cats on the farm too and if dogs had found them it would have been bad. It showed a complete lack of respect and put us, my pets, my staff and my crops at risk."

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Huntmaster Geoff Block said the intrusion was down to human error, and that the woman in charge of laying the trail had taken a wrong turn.

He said: "The last thing we want to do is upset people and this was a genuine mistake. There are no signposts in the country and unfortunately an error was made. We will be going round to apologise."

According to Mr Block, only two people from the hunt party crossed the farm boundary, and he did not believe any damage had been caused.

But Ms Gladden said she did not understand how the error had come about, as the boundaries were clearly marked.

She said: "Making a navigation error is not acceptable. They should have had a clear map of where they needed to go, but crossing ditches probably should have been the biggest clue that they had gone wrong.The tracks were right in the middle of the farm, they had crossed a very clear boundary to get there."

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