NOT a single person was prosecuted in Hampshire last year under anti-foxhunting legislation, it has been revealed.

Campaigners branded the bill “a massive waste of police time” after it was revealed just 33 fines and 11 cautions were handed out in 2010.

Hunting in Hampshire has continued since the ban became law in 2005, with groups including the New Forest Hounds training their dogs to follow a scent laid down by hand.

But hunting enthusiasts have continued to lobby for the Hunting Act to be overturned, and Prime Minister David Cameron has promised a free vote on the matter before the end of this Parliament.

Today the Countryside Alliance claims that Hampshire Police has proceeded against 11 people since 2005, leading to three fines, all in 2008.

It said the legislation was complicated and a “nightmare” for police to enforce. The figures are revealed just days before the New Forest Hunt begins its season which starts tomorrow (Saturday) at the Royal Oak Pub, in Fritham.

Alice Barnard, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: “With the opening meets of the hunting season just around the corner, these statistics are a damning indictment of the expensive and failed Hunting Act.”

But anti-hunt campaigners hit back, saying the Countryside Alliance was sending out “mixed messages”.

Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “On the one hand you have the Countryside Alliance saying that hunts aren’t breaking the law, and on the other they say that the law's an ass because no hunting people were convicted last season.

“Which is it? Are they breaking the law or aren’t they?”

Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes said: “Zero convictions in Hampshire is proof that hunts here, like the New Forest, are operating within the law. But the fact remains that the Hunting Act is a flawed piece of legislation which has done nothing for animal welfare and has been a significant drain on police resources when they can ill afford it.”

One Hampshire hunt leader, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s a pretty murky area. It’s a nightmare being involved with hunting at the moment.

“It’s not easy to work with the laws, put it that way.”