The chairman of The Fox and Barrel in Cotebrook has blasted claims that the pub supports illegal fox hunts.
An anti-hunt group hit out at the establishment on social media after they were turned away following a protest on Saturday (February 7).
They claimed that they were told to leave because the area is ‘hunting country’.
But Tony Steele posted a statement which said that some members of the large group, who were dressed in hooded tops and scarves, were scaring his customers.
One was holding a dead fox which was ‘extremely frightening for all concerned,’ he said.
He insisted that the pub is against fox hunting and the group had ‘got the wrong target’.
“All our regular customers know very well that we do not and never have supported fox hunting,” he said.
“The Fox and Barrel is NOT pro fox hunting and is completely against any form of cruelty to animals.
“Indeed the name of the pub commemorates the action of the original landlord in saving the life of a fox fleeing from a hunt, letting it hide in a barrel in the cellar.”
Tony said the small independent private business employs many local people and does not condone any illegal activity.
“We work endlessly long hours in a difficult economic climate to make The Fox and Barrel the best it can be,” he said.
“Since this invasion occurred we have been subjected to an orchestrated onslaught of abuse and bad reviews, which are completely false on Facebook and Tripadvisor, from people all over the country and as far as Australia, who have never been to the pub.”
He said he is willing to meet with the leaders of the protest group to address any concerns that they may still have.
A ban on hunting foxes and other wild mammals with dogs in England and Wales was implemented in the Hunting Act 2004.