THE National Trust has reaffirmed its stance on trail hunting following reports of the activity taking place on its land.

Videos seen by the News & Star appeared to show trail hunting taking place between Keswick and Buttermere and near Crummock Water last week.

A National Trust spokesperson said: “Following the emergence of a video from Hunting Office webinars last year we paused licensing of all trail hunting on our land.

"As the case has now concluded and the defendant has been found guilty, we will take time to digest all the information from this investigation.

"Trail hunting continues to be paused on the land we care for.

"We take any reports of unlicensed groups on our land very seriously and we ask that any reports are passed to our staff on the ground where possible.”

Trail hunting was devised after the Hunting Act banned the hunting of foxes with dogs.

A 'trail layer' goes out ahead of the hunt, dragging a rag coated in an animal scent.

Huntsmen cast the hounds to this scent, and follow it to the end of the trail.

While it has been paused on National Trust land, the organisation could ban it later this month.

In the videos, which were alleged to be from between Keswick and Buttermere, a group of dogs can be heard barking and descending the hill.

In other videos alleged to be near Crummock Water, men could be seen leading groups of dogs on the hillside.

A member of a hunt monitoring group, who filmed the videos between Buttermere and Keswick, said: "We walked round from Hopebeck and saw a single hound on Swinside, which is National Trust.

"We then parked at Langthwaite, which is to the north end of Crummock Water and the hounds were coming down from Whiteside."

She added: "[The hounds] went into cry and were definitely chasing something."

Bob Fell, joint master of Blencathra Foxhounds, said: "We haven't been out [in this area] as far as I'm aware."

The reputation of Britain’s hunting community was dealt a serious blow after Mark Hankinson, the director of the Masters of the Foxhounds Association, was convicted last week of encouraging others to hide the illegal hunting of live foxes behind a 'smokescreen' of trail hunting.

He was found guilty of encouraging or assisting others to commit an offence over his comments in two webinars in front of an audience of more than 100 MFHA members.