An annual Wiltshire hunt which previously sparked violent clashes was cancelled after organisers were expelled by the sport’s governing body.

The Avon Vale Hunt’s Boxing Day event at Lacock, formerly the biggest day in its calendar, did not go ahead this year, although both police and hunt saboteurs were on the scene.

This comes after the hunt was permanently expelled from membership with the British Hound Sports Association in February, due to “serious breaches” of the association’s rules.

The decision was made by a disciplinary panel after ITV News released a video appearing to show members of the Avon Vale Hunt digging a fox out of a den for their hounds to chase.

Police patrolled Lacock on Boxing Day 2023 as a precautionary measure while a handful of visitors arrived expecting a hunt.

Salisbury Journal: Protesters at last year's Boxing Day HuntProtesters at last year's Boxing Day Hunt (Image: Trevor Porter)

Saboteurs also visited the village to “challenge” any potential hunt, but the village remained quiet.

The large Boxing Day Hunt produced violent scenes in 2021 when around 50 protesters clashed with over 100 hunt supporters leading to three convictions.

Last year protesters were out in force again, but a significant police presence ensured a more peaceful affair.

Fox hunting is illegal in the UK.

Trail hunting, in which dogs and their horse-riding owners follow scents scattered across the countryside by hunt officials, is the closest legal equivalent.