W OXON: The RSPCA has hit back at claims by MPs it broke charity rules by going ahead with a costly prosecution of the West Oxfordshire hunt.

The Chipping Norton-based hunt and its former huntsman and master were convicted of illegal fox hunting in the first such prosecution ever mounted by the RSPCA, last week.

A cross-party group of MPs and peers have reported the RSPCA to the Charity Commission, after it was revealed the cost of the prosecution was £326,000.

But a spokesman for the RSPCA said: “As part of its charitable activity, we investigate and prosecute animal welfare offences to ensure laws to protect animals are upheld and to deter others from cruelty.”