Kennel staff out exercising the hounds of the York and Ainsty hunt were stopped by policemen who demanded: “Why aren’t those dogs on leads?”
This is just one incident – some far more serious and costly – which have been reported by the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) which is concerned that many town-based policeman have no understanding of country ways and often leap to the wrong conclusions.
On at least two occasions, police launched helicopters after walkers reported men with guns, not realising they were taking part in perfectly legal shoots. But the people who reported them thought they were terrorists.
The NGO is so concerned at these misunderstandings – very costly and time wasting for already overstretched police forces – that its members are to give a series of talks to police about the laws concerning rural pursuits.
A more serious fear is that armed police officers could be despatched to tackle so-called “terrorists” creating the potential of a ghastly shooting error, as has happened at least twice in London.