VIDEO evidence showing a fox being dug out of a hole and then chased by a pack of hounds has been described as "appalling" at Jedburgh Sheriff Court.

Witnesses claimed that the footage proved "traditional" fox hunting is still going on despite legislation being introduced 15 years ago.

An investigator from the League Against Cruel Sports gave the court his verdict on two videos filming the activities of the Jedforest Hunt at Townfoothill Farm near Jedburgh,  on February 18 last year.

Peter Cross filmed the incident on a video camera from a distance of 650 metres along with fellow investigator Terence Hill after they both set an observation point for a covert operation.

The footage captured a fox being chased into an earth by the hounds and then a man spending more than 20 minutes digging a hole to locate the fox.

The law says the fox should then be dispatched or killed by a hand pistol or shotgun.

But the footage shows the fox being released from the hole and immediately pursued by the hounds.

The fox goes out of sight behind a land ridge - a blind spot for the cameramen - and its fate cannot be confirmed.

Mr Cross told the court:"What we have witnessed there is in direct contradiction of the Masters of Foxhounds Association rules.

"It is not only an illegal act but I think their governing body  would like to have words about their behaviour too.

"If it is known a fox is in the earth they can be dug down and dispatched with a pistol  if the farmer requires pest control."

Referring to the hounds chasing the fox he said:"It is just not necessary to do that to a fox.  Personally I find it appalling."

Father and son John Clive Richardson, 66, and 24-year-old Johnny Riley from the Jedforest Hunt are on

trial  accused of deliberately hunting a fox with hounds - which has been illegal in Scotland since the Protection of Wild Mammals Act 2002.

The trial of Richardson and Riley of Abbotrule, Bonchester Bridge, continues.