An angry farmer has been filmed confronting hunt saboteurs and ordering them to “get off my land”.
The tenant farmer became incensed after finding supporters of the West Midland Hunt Saboteurs filming on his land.
A clash broke out after saboteurs started recording the Atherstone Hunt on farmland in Radcliffe Culey, Leicestershire, on Saturday afternoon (14 October).
Dressed in black and green John Deere overalls, the farmer is filmed driving his red quad bike at the sabs, some of whom are dressed in black and covering their faces with balaclavas.
As the men are seen walking away from the farm down a private track, the farmer tells them: “You are on private property. I can do what I want.”
The farmer is also filmed throwing a punch at one of the protesters. And he is heard saying: “That’s one more, does anyone else want some?”
At one point during the standoff, he drives his quad bike at the protesters and knocks one of them into a ditch.
The farmer’s actions have drawn a mixed response on social media.
Some have criticised the farmer saying he overreacted, but others have pointed out that the protesters are breaking the law if they were trespassing on private land.
A spokeswoman for the West Midland Hunt Saboteurs said: “If that quad bike had gone into the ditch, the farmer could have killed or caused serious injury to someone. His behaviour was not rational and totally over the top.”
Tim Bonner, chief executive at the Countryside Alliance, told Farmers Weekly: “It is completely unacceptable that masked extremists continue to harass farmers, hunts and other rural people.
“Their aim is to create fear and chaos and it should be no surprise that such behaviour generates a strong reaction.”
But he added: “We should all be careful, however, not to overreact in a manner which helps them to achieve their aims.”
In a statement, Atherstone Hunt said: “The Atherstone met at the Kennels this morning (Saturday) with a field of 50 riders. Both jumping and non-jumping people were again catered for. Hounds hunted the trails well and everyone had a lovely morning.
“We understand that one of our landowners requested that hunt saboteurs leave his land on which they were trespassing and after they refused he took steps to remove them.
“Such action is taken independently of the Atherstone Hunt and not regulated by us. We remain extremely grateful to our farmers and landowners for their continued support in allowing us to cross their land.”
A spokesman for Leicestershire Police said: “Officers are investigating an allegation of assault after a man sustained minor injuries in Ratcliffe Culey, Leicestershire, at the weekend.
“A report was made at 12.31pm on Saturday, 14 October which related to the victim having sustained an injury as a result of being involved in a collision with a quad bike. Enquiries are continuing into the incident.”
West Midland Hunt Saboteurs had filmed the same farmer running at them brandishing a type of rod while they were trespassing on his land in December. On this occasion, police took no action against him.
Farmers Weekly contacted the farmer concerned but he declined to comment.