CHESHIRE’S police and crime commissioner David Keane has issued a statement after a fox was killed during a hunt at the weekend.

Cheshire Police are investigating the incident which happened amid at a trail hunt in Huxley, near Tarporley, on Saturday.

A force spokesman said: "Shortly after 1.30pm on Saturday, Cheshire Police were notified that a fox had been killed while a trail hunt was taking place in the Huxley area.

"An investigation into the circumstances has been launched, and a number of parties are being spoken to.

"The role of the police is to enforce the law impartially.

"We recognise how emotive this issue is and we would like to assure everyone that the matter will be thoroughly investigated."

The incident has caused uproar among people all over the country as it has been reported in the national press and circulated widely on social media.

The police and crime commissioner Mr Keane last year ordered an independent review into fox hunting in Cheshire.

He has now released a statement regarding Saturday’s incident, stating that he expects the incident to be ‘thoroughly and robustly investigated’.

Mr Keane said: “I am aware of the incident which took place during a trail hunt in the Huxley area this weekend and have been contacted by a range of residents and their representatives expressing their concerns. The investigation of allegations related to any illegal activity, including those of illegal hunting, is the responsibility of the acting chief constable and the officers and staff under her command.

“The constabulary is aware of the allegations and in my role as your police and crime commissioner in holding the chief constable to account, I will be seeking an overview of the investigation and any outcomes from those leading it. The acting chief constable is fully aware of my expectation that such incidents are thoroughly and robustly investigated.

“I would also like to remind Cheshire residents that following the independent review I commissioned into illegal hunting in Cheshire, I will be holding a scrutiny meeting in public next month to discuss the outcomes of this review and the subsequent action plan to ensure Cheshire Constabulary is upholding its responsibilities under the Hunting Act 2004.

“In the meantime, I would urge anyone who has evidence of any criminal activity relating to illegal hunting to contact Cheshire Police.”

Labour MP for Chester Chris Matheson also commented on the incident on Twitter, telling his followers that he wants to see prison sentences being handed out to anyone who may be responsible.

Mr Matheson wrote: "I am receiving reports of a fox being killed by a Cheshire hunt.

"I will be seeking confirmation but if true then prosecution and prison sentences must follow. Better still an outright ban on fox hunting."

Last week, Labour pledged it would review penalties under the Hunting Act 2004 to ensure it was an effective deterrent.

Under the Act, it is an offence to hunt a wild mammal with dogs, although there are some exemptions.