A hunt has been forced to apologise to a hospice after residents were left distressed by hounds chasing through its grounds.

The Braes of Derwent Hunt, from County Durham, lost control of some of their dogs who broke away from the pack onto the land of Willow Burn Hospice.

The hospice, near Lanchester, has offered palliative and end of life care since it opened in 1989.

A statement from the hospice said: "Willow Burn Hospice has been made aware of a recent hunt which made its way onto the land which is occupied by Willow Burn Hospice," they said.

"This not only distressed our service users and staff but has caused distress within the community. Willow Burn Hospice is taking action to minimise the risk of this happening again and contacting the necessary channels."

Anti-hunt campaign group Hunt Monitors, which was there during the hunt on Monday, posted on its Facebook group: "We were appalled at what we witnessed and we will be taking action also.

"It is disgraceful that hounds be allowed to hunt a fox onto your property and scare staff, residents and the sheep which live on your land. Totally unacceptable."

But Master of the Hunt William Gascoigne, who was not out on the day, said that the pack had become disorientated due to the presence of the anti-hunt protesters.

He told The Northern Echo: "The hospice wouldn't have known they were there, but the anti-hunt people jumped on that opportunity and went and knocked on the door and said the hunt has been through."

Durham Police said a representative from the hunt had visited the hospice to apologise and they would speak to the hunt to "offer some words of advice for next year".