An anti-foxhunting group claims its members were attacked by masked men for trying to spot animal cruelty.

Police were called to clashes at the Southdown and Eridge Fox Hunt in Firle, near Lewes, on Saturday in which a number of people were hurt.

One man was arrested on suspicion of assault. The Hunt Saboteurs Association said three of its supporters had to go to hospital to be treated for head wounds.

It also claimed its video cameras and glasses had been stolen in what it described as an unprovoked attack. The group monitors fox hunts in the South East to ensure hunters are abiding by the Hunting Act 2004 – legislation that outlaws the hunting of foxes with dogs.

A spokesman for the association said: “Three of our members who were filming the hunt were suddenly confronted and then assaulted by between eight to 10 men, some of whom were masked.

“All three people were punched to the ground where the men proceeded to kick and beat them.”

Matt Fincham, the head of media relations for the Countryside Alliance, said the people involved in the clash had no association with the hunt.

Sussex Police confirmed they had arrested a 28-year-old man on suspicion of assault.

A force spokesman said: “The man, from Haywards Heath, was arrested around 4pm after an allegation of assault was made following confrontations between hunt protestors and members of the Southdown and Eridge Hunt.

“Earlier in the day, police had been called to Charleston where two people were treated for injuries by ambulance personnel.”

The 28-year-old was questioned before being released on bail until December 3.