THOUSANDS of hunt supporters lined the streets as riders turned out for traditional Boxing Day meets across Worcestershire.

Hundreds of people gathered outside Droitwich Spa's Raven Hotel for the Worcestershire Hunt meet.

Some riders wore signs saying Scrap the Act - referring to the Hunting Act which came into force in February 2005.

Joint master David Palmer said they were trail hunting' - following an artificial trail which is one of the exemptions in the act. He also said support for hunting had grown even bigger and they had more youngsters involved than ever before.

He addressed the meet, where there were about 100 horses, saying: "Ladies and gentlemen, all over the British Isles today nearly 300 packs of hounds are meeting for their Boxing Day meet where they always have met.

"Thanks to people like you who have given us your wonderful support.

"If you keep coming then so will we and we will see off this ridiculous bill that is trying to emasculate our sport."

Members of the Worcestershire Hunt were welcomed to Droitwich Spa by Wychavon District Council chairman Jean Dowty.

She said: "I welcomed the hunt on behalf of the council, they have never been welcomed before.

"They bring thousands of people to the centre of Droitwich. When you are riding down the road there's people cheering as you go past, it brings a tear to your eye.

"It was time they were welcomed here on behalf of the council," she added.

Meanwhile, over at stately Hagley Hall there was no shortage of Boxing Day spectators to view the traditional countryside scene.

Around 1,000 people, and over 100 mounted on horses, turned out for the Albrighton Woodland hunt meet.

Peter Swan, master of the Albrighton Woodland meet, said: "It went really well. We had a great turn out."

When addressing the crowd at the hunt, Mr Swan said that the bottom line is that the hunt is doing well to survive.

He also said that the act will eventually have to be scrapped because it is so poor.