HUNTS set off on their traditional Boxing Day meets in South and West Dorset.

The Cattistock Hunt's ports of call included Nettlecombe, near Bridport, while the South Dorset Hunt supporters turned out in force for their annual Boxing Day meet.

Riders and foot followers gathered at the Dorset County Showground at Cokers Frome, Dorchester, for the meet before setting off for a day of hunting under the guidelines introduced following the ban which came into force nearly two years ago.

The 2004 Act made hunting with dogs a criminal offence, although exercising hounds, chasing a scent trail and flushing out foxes to be shot are all still legal.

Some opponents of hunting claim that loopholes in the law are being exploited, such as the exemption which allows the hunting of foxes with a bird of prey.