BIG crowds turned out as hunt fans took part in the centuries-old tradition of a Boxing Day hunt meet.

In Chipping Norton, more than 6,000 people saw about 80 riders take part in the Heythrop Hunt’s meet.

Senior joint master of the hunt Richard Sumner said: “Hunting is part of the countryside traditional and we are trying to keep it going.”

The hunt did not follow the scent of live foxes, instead following scent trails which had been laid out by riders earlier in the day.

The Labour Government made hunting wild animals using dogs illegal in 2005.

Mr Sumner said: “They should repeal the Act because it is an unworkable law.

“There needs to be some sort of fox control and other methods are far more cruel than hunting.”

David Carey, 39, of Carterton, attended the hunt with his three-year-old daughter Beth, pictured with one of the hounds.

He said: “It is a family tradition to go every year and Beth just loves the horses and the hounds. Being able to get that close to the hounds is fantastic.”