The traditional Boxing Day hunt in Lewes turned contentious this year, as scuffles broke out among spectators on Lewes High Street, near the Crown Court. A significant number of people, comprising both supporters and opponents of the hunt, gathered, creating a palpable tension in the air.
The event showcased hounds from the Southdown and Eridge Hunt, with a parade of horses and riders traversing the High Street. The atmosphere was charged with mixed emotions, as the crowd’s cheers and boos reflected the community’s deep divide over the hunting tradition.
Sussex Police reported that the event led to several arrests. “Seven people were arrested following reports of affray at the Boxing Day hunt parade in Lewes on Tuesday (26 December),” a spokesperson stated. The arrests included two women, aged 24 and 26, and three men, aged 35, 38, and 52, who were later released without further action. Additionally, a 49-year-old man received a community resolution.
One individual, Cainin Woodhead, 53, of The Saffrons, Burgess Hill, faced more serious charges. Woodhead was charged with using threatening behavior with the intent to cause fear or provoke unlawful violence. He is scheduled to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 1 February 2024.
The incident has reignited debates over the controversial practice of hunting and its place in contemporary society, particularly in Lewes, a town known for its historical traditions and vibrant community events.