ANIMAL rights activists in Northumberland have welcomed an investigation into trail hunting.

The National Police Chiefs' Council lead for hunting and the Crown Prosecution Service are currently investigating a ‘webinar’ which was hosted by The Hunting Office, hunting’s governing body.

The investigation was launched after allegations were made to numerous forces about the contents of online meetings the hunting body held.

Northumbria Police declined to comment on the issue.

Lynne Graham, a volunteer at Northumberland Hunt Watch, said she hoped the matter would be investigated thoroughly.

She said: "We've been saying for years that trail hunting doesn't exist. It's just a smokescreen to kill wildlife.

"I think everybody in the country is hoping that it doesn't get brushed under the carpet.

"Hopefully it's another nail in the coffin of hunting - but I won't be celebrating just yet."

In response to the investigation, the National Trust said it was “pausing” trail hunting on its land and would not be issuing any licences for the rest of the season.

Trust chiefs said they did not have a date for when the suspension would be reviewed.

Forestry England has also moved to suspend trail hunting on its land.

A spokesman for the office said: “The purpose of the webinars held in August was very clearly to facilitate legal hunting and any allegation that they were organised for any other purpose is completely incorrect.

“We will cooperate fully with the police and welcome the opportunity to clarify the situation."

Tynedale Hunt said they do not use National Trust land and therefore would not be commenting.