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Falconry exemption tested

Four men from the Isle of Wight have pleaded not guilty to illegally hunting with dogs in a private prosecution brought by the League Against Cruel Sports.

Stuart Trousdale, of Gatcombe, Jamie Butcher, of Ryde, and Liam Thom, of Rookley, are charged with hunting a fox with dogs. Malcolm Purcell, of Blackwater, is charged with hunting with dogs.

It will be the first time the 2004 Hunting Act falconry exemption is tested through the courts, as they are expected to argue they were using an eagle owl.

The case was adjourned until 17 September.