A MAN and woman from Monmouthshire are among four people who have now been convicted of animal cruelty after foxes were thrown to hounds at a hunting kennels.

A total of four people have now been convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

Julie Elmore, 55, of Brynarw estate, near Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, and Paul Reece, 48, from Itton, near Chepstow, Monmouthshire, pleaded guilty to an allegation that they committed the offence while transporting the foxes, rather than killing them.

Paul Oliver, master of hounds at South Herefordshire Hunt, and kennel maid Hannah Rose were convicted at Birmingham Magistrates' Court subsequently.

Evidence was obtained by an anti-hunting investigation team using covert cameras and a tracking device.

Oliver and Rose were given 16-week and 12-week suspended prison sentences respectively.

Oliver, 40, of Spalding, Lincolnshire, was convicted of four counts of animal cruelty, and Rose, his 30-year-old partner, three counts of the same charge. She was acquitted on a further count.

They were also each ordered to pay £300 in costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

Elmore and Reece were given conditional discharges and ordered to pay costs of £50 after the judge said both had been "motivated by consideration" for two fox cubs.

A fifth defendant, Nathan Parry, 40, also Brynarw estate, was cleared of all charges.

Mr Parry took foxes to kennels but was found not guilty after the judge accepted he believed they would be relocated in the wild.

Oliver was caught by a hidden camera as he prepared to feed live fox cubs to his dogs in May 2016, the trial heard.

The court was told hidden motion-sensitive cameras were placed at kennels by the anti-bloodsports activists Hunt Investigation Team (HIT) after they received information animal welfare legislation had been breached.

A camera recorded Oliver handling foxes at kennels and dumping the bodies of two cubs in a wheelie bin, the court was told.