POLICE are investigating reports of an illegal fox hunt in County Durham this morning (Monday, October 19).

A concerned resident contacted Sedgefield Police after claiming to have seen a pack of hounds closing in on a fox in Fishburn Woodland between 8am and 10am.

Two similar reports were made to Durham County Council, which owns the land.

One man, who asked not to be named, told The Northern Echo he had seen two people on horseback and a pack of at least 20 hounds.

“The fox must have gone to ground,” he said. “I stood watching them for 20 minutes and then reported it to Durham County Council. Foxing hunting is banned but they think they have the right to do anything they want. What if a couple had been out walking with a child and they got caught up in it?”

Sergeant Alex Clarke, of Sedgefield Police, said: “We received a complaint about fox hunting and a search of the area was carried out but didn’t reveal anything. Our enquiries are ongoing.”

Fox hunting was banned as part of the Hunting Act 2004, which came into force the following February.

Anyone with information about the alleged fox hunt is asked to contact Sedgefield Police on 101.