ANTI-hunt protesters lined up outside the National Trust’s AGM in what police called one of the “friendliest” protests they had seen.

Travelling to the annual general meeting at STEAM from all over the country, protesters hoped to convince trust members to vote to ban trail hunting on the charity’s land.

This afternoon members will vote on a motion brought by campaigners. If passed, it would see “trail hunting” and the exercising of hunting hounds banned at National Trust properties.

Helen Beynon was one of those who brought the motion. She said this morning that she felt confident that it would be passed.

“We’ve got the message out to a lot of members,” said Helen.

The National Trust has said that it had already moved to ban the use of fox-based scents by hunt organisers, which they said was a “major contributor to the potential for accidental fox chases”.

A spokesman for the trust said: “Our clear, robust, and transparent set of conditions – which follow a six-month review – are designed to allow participants to enjoy this activity in compatibility with our conservation aims.”

However, the League Against Cruel Sports, which helped organise Saturday’s protest, questioned whether this ban would be effective.

Policy director Chris Luffingham said: “It doesn’t matter what measures you put in place if you’re not going to monitor and enforce them.”

He added that replacing fox-based scents with artificial ones would require the replacement of packs of hunting hounds, trained to follow the animal scents.

Chris said that he did not know which way the vote would go. “What I do know is that many more people will know that the National Trust still allows hunting, which I think will be staggering to them.”

Despite biting winds, protesters – including some dressed as foxes – spoke to trust members as they entered the annual general meeting at STEAM.

One police officer, charged with keeping the peace, joked: “It’s one of the friendliest protests I’ve ever policed.”