A foxhunt ended in disaster when a hound was killed after straying on to a railway line. ‘Ringwood’, a three-year-old hound, was hit by a Crewe-bound passenger train near Elworth, Sandbach.
Now the Cheshire Forest Hunt faces prosecution after allegations that one or more huntsmen trespassed on to the track.
Inspector Richard Fellon, of Crewe Transport Police, said: ‘A hound on the line does not constitute a danger to the railway line. But we have had numerous calls to say there were men on the track, which is illegal. The incident has been reported and British Transport Police are interviewing witnesses. We will follow this up, depending on the evidence produced.’ A witness said: ‘I saw three men on the track. Two were wearing the black huntsman’s dress.’ Chris Owen, a photographer for the League Against Cruel Sports, said: ‘We have photographic evidence to back up the claims.’
Sir Peter Hunter, the Master of the Cheshire Forest Hunt, said: ‘It is very unfair that we are not allowed on the track to get the hounds off. But the dead hound will have been retrieved from the line.’
Gwyneth Dunwoody, MP for Crewe and Nantwich, said: ‘I am concerned that Railtrack has not taken measures to ensure that there is no danger to public safety.’ Nigel Barber, spokesman for Railtrack, said: ‘This was a very unfortunate incident. Railtrack would appeal to all members of the public, from all walks of life, to stay away from the railway line. Our main concern is for public safety.’
The only successful prosecution of a hunt trespassing on to railway lines was in May 1994. Huntsmen and hounds were filmed crossing the rail line at Waverton, near Chester, by the League Against Cruel Sports.
Source : Crewe and Nantwich Chronicle