A RETIRED huntsman has blasted the RSPCA after being convicted of illegally hunting foxes with hounds.

Julian Barnfield, 49, of Hunstmans House, Heythrop Hunt Kennels, Chipping Norton, appeared in court yesterday and admitted four counts of unlawfully hunting a wild mammal, namely a fox, with dogs.

He was jointly charged with retired huntmaster Richard Sumner, 68, of Penhill Farm, Salperton, and the Heythrop Hunt Limited.

Barnfield said that he had only pleaded guilty because he could not afford to fight the £327,000 pounds case the RSPCA had mounted.

He said: "We conceded because the money wasn't there to defend ourselves.

"I would like to stand there and defend it but there was no way it was possible.

"I am staggered by it all. The fact a charitable body can take on this political thing and spend so much money which other people have given them for another thing, is stunning.

"I just hope their donors question what they are doing with their money."

He accused the RSPCA of playing politics, adding: "They could have picked on any other hunt but they picked on Heythrop because we are in David Cameron's constituency.

"I think they are trying to put pressure on him not to give a free vote like he said he would, to embarrass him in some way."

He also blasted the hunt monitors who provided the video evidence.

"These people are vigilantes following me around and filming me. I'm not allowed to follow them around Tesco and see if they steal a tin of beans," he said.