Hundreds of supporters turned out to cheer their local hunt at its traditional Boxing Day meet in Lewes.

There were no signs of protesters as the South Downs and Eridge Hunt gathered outside the White Hart Hotel today.

Hunt saboteurs and animal rights activists have tried to disrupt the traditional spectacle in previous years.

Police used town centre cameras to monitor the crowds as they gathered to see the riders and foxhounds depart at 11am.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “We have not seen any protesters at any of the Sussex hunts in Lewes, Battle or Steyning this year.”

A spokeswoman for the Countryside Alliance who was at the Lewes meet said: ”They realise their protests are pretty futile and they are not going to stop the hunts so they didn't bother to turn up.

“Our main aim now is to repeal the Hunting Act which is not working and to preserve the sense of community surrounding local hunts.

“The turn-out in Lewes was fantastic with between 800 and 1,000 people there to applaud the hunt.”