An animal rights group has responded to claims of assault, trespass and theft in our report about fresh clashes between them and hunts last week.

A spokesman for South Devon Animal Rights said other groups joined its members on Saturday, February 3, to show solidarity following an incident in which one of their supporters had his nose broken during a clash near South Pool last month.

Jenny Freeman, who had allowed the hunt to use her farmyard at Higher Colmer Farm, near California Cross, to park their horse boxes, said last week that around 40 people appeared “at the end of my drive, all with masks and balaclavas on”.

But the animal rights group said its supporters had been asked to wait there by the police. While there, she claimed, someone drove “straight into one of our monitors which put him on the bonnet of the vehicle”. She said “harsh words” were thrown “but no assault” took place.

However, as reported last week, Mrs Freeman claimed the vehicle was surrounded by protesters and the driver’s jacket was ripped and his phone was stolen during the clash.

The appearance of the hunt saboteurs has often been referred to as intimidating, as pictured in last week’s paper, but the anti-hunt group spokeswoman said the monitors and saboteurs cover their faces because “they fear attacks and stalking”. She claimed this “often occurs” when hunt supporters put the saboteurs faces out on social media.

She claimed: “Every week we are subjected to violence and aggression from the hunts and hunt followers. They are a brutal community of people that will lie and stop at nothing to feed their bloodlust and constantly break the law.”

A letter received from a reader, who asked not to be named in fear of reprisals, this week described the photograph on the front of last week’s paper as like the “terrorists”.

The woman said: “I am totally in favour of democracy and appreciate that if people want to protest about hunting they are fully entitled to do so, but I was horrified to see the photograph on the front page of the last week showing them dressed like 1970s IRA terrorists.”

She added: “Protest by all means but have the guts to show your faces.”