A HUNTSMAN has denied claims an hunt event in County Durham at the weekend used "bagged foxes".

Gary Watchman, joint master of South Durham Hunt, said suggestions that participants in the ride from Thorpe Thewles, near Stockton, on Saturday used foxes that had been captured ahead of the hunt were untrue.

The claims were made by a woman, who did not wish to be named, who told The Northern Echo she believed organisers were adopting the practice which involves catching live foxes, putting them into a bag or box then releasing them during a hunt.

She said: "I have been putting notices around the village.”

Mr Watchman said he was aware of accusations being made on social media, including a video by the North East Hunt Saboteurs, an action group which opposes animal cruelty.

He said: "I absolutely deny that claim."