A South Molton countryside campaigner has been jailed for targeting the head of the League Against Cruel Sports with four years of Twitter trolling.

Exmoor farmer Giles Bradshaw, 51, left the anti-hunt group’s former president living in fear after defying police warnings and court orders to leave him alone.

He accused barrister John Cooper, QC, of using paedophiles to hide in bushes and secretly film young children while monitoring hunts.

Bradshaw’s hate campaign started in 2013 when the League posted a video of a dead stag at a hunt on Exmoor in which a girl of about three was seen walking across the picture.

He sent thousands of tweets to Mr Cooper, which carried on after he retired from his position as president.

They included: “This barrister leads an organisation that uses convicted paedophiles to spy on children.”

Another said: “John Cooper wants a world where shady lawyers can decide that criminals and child molesters can film people unchallenged.”

The tweets stopped for two years when Bradshaw was convicted of harassment in 2015 and made subject of a suspended sentence.

Just five weeks after the sentence expired, he sent a new tweet in reply to an article which Mr Cooper wrote in the magazine Dogs Today.

It read: “Secretly filming children to harass their parents = not nice.”

The tweet, sent on September 1 last year, put him in breach of a restraining order imposed after the harassment conviction on 2015.

Bradshaw, of Rose Ash, denied breaching the restraining order but was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court earlier this week.

He was jailed for 18 weeks by Recorder Martin Meeke, QC, who ordered him to pay £4,466 costs.

He told him: “Your conduct caused Mr Cooper distress, although I cannot be sure it was very serious distress. Appropriate conduct can only be achieved by immediate custody.

“The restraining order remains in place. If you breach it again, you may expect a prison sentence substantially in excess of what I have just passed.”

During the trial Mr Cooper, who is former chairman and president of the LACS, said he felt threatened and harassed by the messages, one of which suggested that Bradshaw had a gun and knew which pub he went to for lunch.

He said: “The messages were threatening and a mixture of accusations, calling me a paedophile, and implying I was involved in inappropriate and activities and recording young children.

“Mr Bradshaw indicated he had a shotgun on his premises and another message said he knew which public house I attended, directly opposite my chambers. They were threatening and upsetting.”

Bradshaw denied sending the tweet and claimed it had been fabricated by someone else. He said his twitter account showed he could not have sent it.

He is an IT technician who also farms 40 acres near the Devon Somerset border and is a long standing countryside campaigner who has blogged, tweeted and written extensively against the hunting ban.