More people were prosecuted for hunting with dogs last year than in any other since the 2004 ban came into force, official figures show.

A total of 110 hunters were charged for offences under the Hunting Act in 2013, an increase on the previous high of 92 in 2009, according to Ministry of Justice figures.

Fox hunting was the primary target of the ban passed by Labour in power and the controversial issue still occupies the Government as farmers have argued a change is needed to control fox numbers after an increase in attacks on lambs

The Coalition Agreement promised MPs a free vote on repealing the Act, and Prime Minister David Cameron was forced in March to quash rumours the law would be amended to remove a limit of using two dogs to flush out foxes.

Ministers have admitted that the Tories and Liberal Democrats could not agree on how to proceed with the commitment to a vote but Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has said it will happen "at an appropriate time".

There has been a steady rise in the number of people being prosecuted for hunting with dogs since 2010, when 49 people faced charges.

In 2011, there were 72 prosecutions while in 2012, 84 hunters faced charges.

The offence carries a maximum fine of £5,000.

The 2010 Coalition Agreement, which sealed the power-sharing deal between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, promised that, by the end of the Parliament in 2015 "we will bring forward a motion on a free vote enabling the House of Commons to express its view on the repeal of the Hunting Act".

The figures were released by Justice Minister Damian Green in response to a written parliamentary question from Labour former farming minister Jim Fitzpatrick.