HUNTING may have been banned for some time now, but no one is policing it.

League Against Cruel Sports member Ivor Annetts, from Tiverton, says the police and police authorities need to be publicly called to account for not challenging the practices of the Stag hunts.

Mr Annetts says the hunts are saying they are exempt hunting and deer management, but sometimes have to chase the deer to be able to shoot it at close range.

Mr Annetts said: "If their intent is to kill quickly and humanely, and there is true necessity in this (which many question), why don't the use a stalker?

"If their intent is to follow a flushed deer across miles of countryside, with dogs, quad bikes, people on horseback and in cart, then they are hunting.

"What distinguishes the hunters from the stalkers is their desire to chase in pursuit of the deer before it is killed.

"It isn't difficult for the police to distinguish between a deer managing stalker who shoots a deer, and a pack of over 200 people and some pairs of dogs in pursuit of a deer across miles of open countryside.

"They aren't hiding what they are doing so to obtain evidence of law-breaking would not require significant resources."

However, the police has defended its work on enforcing the hunting ban.

A spokesman said: "We have said from the outset that policing the hunting ban is not our foremost priority.

"Our main duties are the protection of human life and property.

"When presented with evidence from third parties we always examine the evidence and if felt appropriate, forward that evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service.

"If an officer witnesses an offence we would expect that he would act upon it."