A PRO-HUNTING boss encouraged his organisation's Buckinghamshire members to pressurise Waitrose over its support of an animal sanctuary, leaked emails show.

Countryside Alliance Deputy Chief Executive Rob Gray said Little Foxes in Great Haseley “should not receive a penny” from a February charity collection at the supermarket in Thame, on the Buckinghamshire border.

The sanctuary is run by Penny Little, a hunt monitor and spokesman for anti-hunting campaigning organisation Protect Our Wild Animals.

She branded any suggestions the sanctuary and the monitoring activities were linked as “scurrilous and unfounded”.

She said they were completely independent and said she funds the monitoring herself.

Previously, another leaked e-mail from Adrian Charman, from the Bucks branch of the Countryside Alliance, called for a boycott of Waitrose.

In an e-mail to him Mr Gray said: “You are right that Penny Little's outfit should not receive a penny and individual protests are fully justified and in many ways more effective.

“Pressure must be put on.

"It must be understood though that Waitrose - or anyone - will not respond positively to a boycott organised by a 'pro-hunt group - ie the Alliance, but they may well respond to accusations from residents/customers that they are funding animal rights activists.”

He added: “Keep it up.”

Mrs Little said: “I think this is absolutely incredible. The lengths that the mighty CA is prepared to go to, to deprive a small wildlife rescue of funds is simply unbelievable.

“And Why? Because I, the founder of the charity, oppose their activities.

"My hunt monitoring activities are completely separate to Little Foxes and are completely legitimate, it's a public spirited thing to do.

“They're actually taking the food out of the mouths of orphaned fox cubs that will be coming to us in the next couple of months.

“It goes against their interests that anybody cherishes foxes, they want people to hate foxes.”

Mrs Little, who won an RSPCA award last year, pointed out that the sanctuary rescues “all British wildlife”, not just foxes.

She accused the CA of wanting to “crush any opposition”.

The Countryside Alliance distanced itself from the boycott proposal after the first email was leaked.

Mr Gray told the Free Press members knew of Mrs Little because of her anti-hunt monitoring work rather than the charity – and that was what had sparked concern.

He said: “We are not casting aspersions on her sanctuary.

"Waitrose customers can make up their own minds on charitable giving.

“We are not advocating a boycott of Waitrose. Waitrose are free to do what they like.”

He said of Mrs Little's claims: “We don't want to crush anybody, we are a pro-hunting group but that's not all we do.”

He said CA members like all animals, denied the organisation "hates foxes" and said it did not want to see the animals “wiped out”.

A statement from Waitrose said: “This is simply a charity that has been nominated by our customers who feel that they want to support the work it does.”