Huntsman Michael Nicholson, of Coniston Foxhounds, pleaded guilty to criminal damage after attacking a saboteur’s car.

A HUNTSMAN smashed the window of a hunt saboteur’s car.

Michael Gerald Nicholson, who works for Coniston Foxhounds, smashed the window of a Ford Escort with three saboteurs inside.

Nicholson, 40, pleaded guilty to criminal damage when he appeared before South Lakeland Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Prosecuting, Mr David Dunk told the court that a group of anti-hunt activists met in Grasmere on the morning of January 10 to monitor Coniston Foxhounds.

They told police that they were aiming to film illegal activity if they saw it taking place and then call the police.

The planned hunt meeting was cancelled due to bad weather and the saboteurs headed to Ambleside in an attempt to find Coniston Foxhounds’ kennels.

They were spotted on Nook Lane, near to the kennels, by Nicholson and he recognised them from Grasmere earlier in the morning.

Mr Dunk said: “Mr Nicholson walked towards the car and according to the driver, Mr Cain, he was shouting.

“He banged with the umbrella on the windscreen then turned his attention to the driver’s side window. He hit it a number of times, causing it to smash.”

The driver, Dean Cain, suffered a minor cut to his face. After the incident was reported to the police, Nicholson was arrested and interviewed. He admitted to being the man involved in the incident.

Defending, Mr Gareth James told the court that Nicholson is a man of good character with no previous convictions.

He said: “Mr Nicholson is responsible for the well-being of the animals and he became suspicious of the men as Nook Lane is a dead end. Mr Cain said he was driving back down the lane but Mr Nicholson said the car was parked up and two people were looking over the wall. They told him they were lost.

“He said: ‘You aren’t lost, I saw you at Grasmere earlier, I’m calling the police’.

“They drove the car towards Mr Nicholson, it’s a narrow lane, and he stood in front of the car.

“He made contact with the umbrella on the car, the car drove towards him in an aggressive manner.

“He was struck on the leg, his jeans where ripped open. He has since been to the doctor for medical treatment.

“He swung the umbrella in one single blow in the centre of the driver’s side window and that shattered it. He accepts that he acted recklessly. He realised that it is unacceptable but he was concerned for the safety of his animals and the hunt’s premises.”

Nicholson, of Nook Lane, Ambleside, was given a 12-month conditional discharge, and ordered to pay £150 in compensation to Mr Cain, plus costs of £58.

Presiding magistrate Mrs Margaret Stamper said: “We feel that because of your good character we can make a conditional discharge of 12 months for criminal damage.”

Source: North-West Evening Mail

Hunt Details: Coniston Foxhounds

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