HUNT saboteurs have criticised a police response after they were attacked by a pair of masked men with hammers.
But police say the saboteurs were uncooperative and can still make a complaint about the attack if they want.
The incident at the opening meet of the Rockwood Harriers, at Emley, left two members of the Hunt Saboteur Association badly shaken after the windows on their minibus were smashed and their tyres slashed.
The saboteurs say they were even more shocked when they were then held by the police for three hours.
Lee Moon, spokesman for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, said: “Most of the group were following the hunt to ensure they weren’t illegally hunting, but the driver and a passenger were in the group’s van which was parked by the side of the road.
“Suddenly four 4×4 vehicles drove at speed toward the van. They parked in such a way that the van couldn’t escape and two men wearing masks and carrying hammers ran toward the van.
“They smashed the windscreen and both rear windows and slashed one of the tyres before returning to their vehicles and racing away.
“They were just about to call the police when they arrived on the scene.
“We were amazed by what happened next. Instead of dealing with the obvious case of criminal damage by the hunt – evidenced by the smashed up van right in front of them – the police proceeded to harass and illegally detain the group for the next three hours, searching people and vehicles and only finally allowing them to leave when the hunt had packed up for the day.
“At no point did they enquire as to the welfare of the two people who had been in the van during the attack and they were completely disinterested in the attack itself.
“They even refused to act when the perpetrators of the attack drove past laughing.”
Liz Eden, joint Master of the Rockwood Harriers, said they were aware of the saboteurs presence, but knew nothing of the attack.
She added: “They did follow us for a while, but we were all out riding so we didn’t see it happen.”
Ms Eden confirmed that none of the hunt members had been interviewed by the police.
A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “We received a report from a passer-by that a mini-bus had been surrounded by a group of people in balaclavas on Park Lane in Emley.
“Police attended and attempted to speak to a number of the people whose bus had allegedly been vandalised.
“However, they were uncooperative and refused to speak to officers.
“No suspects could therefore be described or reported, so no crime is currently recorded.
“A female member of the group was given an officer’s details, should they decide to make a complaint of the damage in the future.
“The driver of the damaged vehicle was told that he would need to exchange details with officers if he wanted to make a further complaint.’’
Source : Huddersfield Examiner