There was a small protest in Grantham this morning as members of the Belvoir Hunt gathered for the traditional Boxing Day meet.
Shouts of ‘criminals’ came from protesters as the riders and hounds gathered in St Peter’s Hill but there was no trouble during the meet which was greeted by a large crowd of visitors.
Mayor of Grantham Coun Linda Wootten greeted the riders who were served the traditional drinks and mince pies as they gathered outside the Guildhall.
Coun Wootten told the Journal she was expecting the protest after receiving up to 50 emails from protesters who made it clear they did not agree with her welcoming the Hunt to Grantham.
There has also been a large protest on social media against the Hunt, much of that also directed at Coun Wootten. She said a number of messages were abusive. Her husband, and former Mayor of Grantham, Coun Ray Wootten, described them as ‘vile’.
Talking about the protest, Coun Linda Wootten told the Journal: “I understand where they are coming from. I realise it is controversial but there is a law (against fox hunting) and it stipulates what can and what cannot be done and anybody who falls foul of that law has to face the consequences.”
On the Boxing Day meet, she said: “It’s a tradition and it’s expected. There is no way I was going to be intimidated by a group of people and upset the public. It’s a spectacle and people like to see the hounds and horses.
“They don’t know what my personal views are and it’s immaterial because I have a role to play. It’s a beautiful day today and that brings out even more people and it proves the point.”
Earlier this month police arrested a 49-year-old man on suspicion of illegal hunting with a dog after two foxes were allegedly killed by Belvoir Hunt hounds in the Scalford area, near Melton.
It is illegal to hunt mammals with a dog under the Hunting Act 2004.