An incident in which a masked man allegedly threw a bird-scaring device which exploded near a hunt monitor's car is being investigated by police.
Hunt monitors Helen Weeks and Graham Forsyth have reported the incident, which they claim took place while they were monitoring the Dorset-based Cattistock Hunt on a public road near Yeovil on Boxing Day.
They said they were travelling together in one car when they encountered the man, among a small group of people, whom Mr Forsyth and Mrs Weeks believe were supporting the hunt, standing near quad bikes near Hardington Mandeville. The hunt was in nearby fields.
A video taken by the monitors shows the man who is alleged to have thrown the device standing with the hood of his jacket up, with what appears to be a scarf masking his face.
The film does not show a device being thrown but yesterday Mrs Weeks said she saw smoke from the rook scarer, which she believes may have landed under the car.
"It is concerning, we were on a public road, and this is intimidating behaviour, made worse when a person is in effect wearing a mask," she said. "It does concern me that people are determined to stop us and that violence can be used."
Mr Forsyth was driving and Mrs Weeks had a camera with which she was monitoring the hunt. Monitors nationwide say their role is vital to ensure that there is no breach by hunts of the Hunting Act of 2004 – but some hunt supporters object to being photographed or filmed.
Mr Forsyth and Mrs Weeks believe their cars have been the targets of vandals in the past because of their role but are determined to continue with their work, which they say is entirely legal.
Will Bryer, joint Master of the Cattistock Hunt, who did not witness the incident, said in a statement last night: "The Cattistock Hunt enjoys huge support throughout our rural community and is a central part of the lives of many of us.
"We understand that there are some who for whatever reason object to what we do and we respect their right to hold that view, as we hope they respect ours to carry on hunting within the law. Unfortunately there are a tiny number of people who are not so tolerant and who operate a campaign of harassment, causing trouble and making endless allegations.
"This latest story is as spurious as those that have come before and it is a shame for all of us that these people waste so much police time and resources."