THE first person to be convicted twice under the Hunting Act has dropped his appeal against the conviction.

Richard Down, a huntsman with the Quantock Staghounds, was prosecuted in November after investigators from the League Against Cruel Sports allegedly filmed him in pursuit of a stag.

On conviction at Taunton Magistrates Court, Mr Down was fined £2,920.

He appealed against the conviction but has since dropped the appeal.

Douglas Batchelor, chief executive of the league, said: “The Hunting Act is very clear, and Mr Down very clearly breached it.

“The court thought so and convicted him in November.

“We hope in earnest that this will lead to a change in his behaviour and that we won’t see him being hauled up before the courts again.”

He added: “Our investigations team are working up and down the country to monitor the activities of hunts, passing information and film to the police where appropriate.

“We’re a rural equivalent of the Neighbourhood Watch.”