Police are investigating after hounds from a Herefordshire hunt were seen running down a town's streets.

The dogs ran through gardens in Hall Green, off Rectory Road, Upton-on-Severn, Worcestershire, last Friday (February 11) before a huntsman on horseback and a terrierman on a quad bike arrived to retrieve them.

Locals believe the hounds had chased a fox into the town and under a garden shed, but it is disputed by hunt staff.

Upton resident Jill Eccleston said: “I live on a small housing estate in Upton and was horrified to see many hounds running up and down my road on Friday. The hounds chased a fox under my neighbour’s shed.”

Hereford Times: Hounds ran through gardens in UptonHounds ran through gardens in Upton

The Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs posted pictures and videos to Facebook showing the hounds in Hall Green, and later members of the hunt in the street.

"Hounds were everywhere, running in many directions in gardens and onto the road," they said. "The residents were not impressed by this invasion at all."

Fox hunting was banned in 2004 but trail hunting, in which hounds follow an artificial scent, is still allowed. It remains controversial, though.

In November, the Malvern Hills Trust banned trail hunting on its land indefinitely after both the Ledbury Hunt and Croome and West Warwickshire Hunt fell foul of trust bylaws.

'Lawful trail hunting'

According to trust papers, breaches included dogs being out of control, unauthorised use of quadbikes on trust land and a lack of evidence for actual trail hunting being carried out.

The Ledbury Hunt’s traditional Boxing Day meet, which in 2021 took place on December 27, attracted large protestst to the town, but was also seen off by hundreds of supporters.

Hereford Times: Members of the Ledbury Hunt were seen in UptonMembers of the Ledbury Hunt were seen in Upton

A spokesman for the Ledbury Hunt said: “We were conducting lawful trail hunting activities in the countryside close to the rural town of Upton-upon-Severn when a few hounds briefly strayed from their huntsman.

“Hunts are regularly subjected to spurious allegations being made about their conduct with very little to substantiate the claims of illegality.

“We operate within the law at all times and urge that if there is any evidence of illegal activity, that it is taken to the police to be investigated appropriately, rather than trying to conduct a trial through the media.”

A spokesman for West Mercia Police said: “Officers are carrying out enquiries after reports were received concerning hunting near Upton-upon-Severn on Friday, February 11.”