A SHOCKING video appears to show an illegal fox hunt being carried out in Wiltshire.

In the phone footage revealed by ITV News, people - alleged to be members of the Avon Vale Hunt - dig up a wild den in the countryside and retrieve a fox from it for their hounds to chase after.

While the humans turn away towards the barking dogs, who are preparing to set upon the helpless animal, another fox runs out of the ground and makes its escape across the grassy plain.

This surprise seems to delight the person filming, who laughs and points out that there's been "a brace", which prompts cheers and excitement from the other 'hunters'.

The British Hounds Sports Association has since suspended the Avon Vale Hunt from its organisation pending an investigation, and has summoned it to a disciplinary panel at BHSA headquarters.

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Fox hunting is illegal in the UK, though hunters and hounds are allowed to take part in a less violent version called trail hunting, where dogs and riders on horseback follow a trail of scents which are left in rural areas by officials before the hunt begins.

Wildlife expert and TV presenter Chris Packham called the clip obtained and broadcast by ITV News "disgusting" and shared it with his followers on Twitter in a bid to prevent similar behaviour on future hunts.


He told the news broadcaster: "To witness this barbarity, this pre-meditated callous cruelty inflicted on a wild animal in the UK countryside in the 21st century is absolutely sickening.

"But this is the brutal face of fox hunting. This is not an isolated incident. We see this week in week out and the hunts have been exposed for saying that they practice trail hunting -as indeed this hunt proclaimed as well.

"Well, that is not trail hunting. That is fox hunting pure and simple, and it is illegal. And I sincerely hope that all of those who are identifiable in this video are brought to justice.

"This insidious vile habit has to be stamped out once and for all."

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: "We have received a report of alleged wildlife offences and will be reviewing the evidence that has been presented."