A village church decided to cancel a carol service for a local hunting group after taking advice from police following concerns about the "personal safety" of a clergy member.

The service for the United Pack had been due to take place at St George’s Church in Clun, near Bishop's Castle on Sunday, December 11, but was moved after the Diocese of Hereford, which is responsible for the church, said it had decided to cancel the service after comments about a member of the clergy on the internet.

In a statement, the Diocese of Hereford: "Based on police advice, we have taken the decision that the service for the United Pack which was to be held at St George's Church, Clun on Sunday 11 December will not be going ahead.

"There have been a number of untruths spread online about a member of our clergy who it was assumed would be leading this service. The decision has been made in the interests of her personal safety and that of anyone expected to attend.

"Our Churches remain open to everyone and offer anyone a welcome, whatever their belief or worldview."

Shropshire Against The Cull group said in an online post that the "sacrilegious" event had been cancelled "thanks to public pressure". The group added: "Well done to everyone who politely contacted St George's Church, Clun. Whatever were the church leaders thinking of when they authorised such a carol service?"

It is understood that a carol service was held at an alternative location for the hunt group.

A spokesperson for the United Pack said: “We were in no doubt that our carol service would go ahead this year. It’s an important part of the festive calendar for many local people here, regardless of whether they follow hunting or not. We would never bow down to threats from online bullies but do understand just how unpleasant it can be for anyone targeted.

"This was without doubt the best supported service the United Pack has ever had. Attendance was higher than usual, with more newcomers than in previous years, which just reinforces the strength of rural, community spirit and this important time of year. The sermon was wonderfully crafted and the 100 or so people in the congregation all agreed that the rural community in the Welsh Marches was far better off for a joyous and hearty service.”