A FATHER and son who became the first huntsmen to be convicted under Scotland's fox hunting legislation have abandoned plans to appeal.

Father and son John Clive Richardson, 67, and 24-year-old Johnny Riley became the first members of a mounted hunt to be successfully prosecuted since the Protection of Wild Mammals(Scotland) Act was introduced 15 years ago.

Both are members of the Jedforest Hunt in the Borders and were secretly filmed by investigators from the League Against Cruel Sports.

Following eight days of evidence, Sheriff Peter Paterson ruled that in two incidents Richardson and Riley were in breach of the act and found them guilty of deliberately hunting a fox with dogs.

Riley - who was in charge of the hunt - was fined £400 at Selkirk Sheriff Court in July and Richardson who was described as having a lesser role was fined £250.

Lawyers for both men indicated afterwards they would be appealing against the conviction.

An appeal was lodged but court officials confirmed it had been withdrawn and the case therefore had been abandoned.

Most the evidence during the trial focussed on the video which showed 34 hounds from the Jedforest Hunt chasing a fox into a hole on farm land at Townfoothill near Jedburgh, on February 16 last year.

After a terrier man spent 40 minutes digging at the hole, the fox then bolted and was again pursued by the dogs before disappearing out of sight of the footage into a gully.

The defence claimed a waiting gunman shot had injured the fox after it had been flushed from cover by the hounds which is permitted in law.

Witnesses for the Crown said they saw no gunman and heard no shots when the fox was being pursued.

Sheriff Paterson accepted the evidence of the defence that there were two gunmen in place.

However, in a landmark ruling ruled that in two incidents the huntsmen of Abbotrule, Bonchester Bridge, were still guilty of illegal hunting while carrying out pest control.