A HUNT that was caught on camera allowing its hounds to savage foxes has been found guilty of breaking the law.

The Heythrop Hunt Limited, along with members Julian Barnfield and Richard Sumner, admitted a total of 12 counts of unlawful hunting with dogs.

Hunt monitors had recorded video footage on three separate occasions in the north Cotswolds, and a fourth time in Oxfordshire.

Incidents were filmed near Church Westcote, on November 23 and on November 30 last year near Evenlode.

The case, at Oxford, saw further footage filmed at Chastleton in Oxfordshire on February 29 and a fourth incident near Bourton on the Water on March 7 this year.

The video had been passed on to the RSPCA which then deployed undercover agents to gather more evidence.

The hearing was told how the Heythrop Hunt met on four occasions and hunted foxes with dogs, in contravention of the Hunting Act 2004.

Footage of hounds dragging the body of a fox across a muddy field was played to a hushed, packed courtroom as the offences were outlined to District Judge Tim Pattinson.

Jeremy Carter-Manning, for the RSPCA, said the February 29 film showed evidence of "prolonged and deliberate unlawful hunting" while the film in Bourton showed some of the defendants encouraging the hunt.

Mr Carter-Manning said: "The foxes are clearly seen by a number of relevant people, including Mr Sumner and Mr Barnfield and others.

"Mr Barnfield is filmed quite clearly amongst the pursuing hounds, shouting 'On, on, on' in obvious encouragement."

Both men and the Heythrop Hunt admitted four counts of unlawfully hunting a wild mammal, namely a fox, with dogs.

Philip Mott, defending, said the charges related to four occasions within the full hunting season between November 2011 and March this year which would have included around 100 hunts, each lasting a few hours.

He added: "What you have here is unlawful hunting, shown and admitted, of no more than 15 minutes in total. It's our case that the rest of the time this hunt was operating trail hunting."

Retired huntsman Barnfield, aged 49, of Huntmans House, Heythrop Hunt Kennels, Chipping Norton, was fined a total of £1,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 costs.

Retired huntmaster Sumner, aged 68, of Penhill Farm in Salperton, was fined a total of £1,800 and ordered to pay £2,500 costs.

The Heythrop Hunt Limited was fined a total of £4,000 and ordered to pay £15,000 pounds in costs. Following the case Barnfield said he had pleaded guilty because he could not afford to fight the £327,000 case the RSPCA had mounted.

The case was the first where a whole hunt has faced corporate charges and is also the first taken by the RSPCA involving the prosecution of a hunt itself.