Animal rights extremists are being blamed for dousing a senior councillor’s cars with corrosive chemicals in a vandalism attack at her Ilkley home.

Bradford Council’s Executive member for the Environment, Councillor Anne Hawksworth, found her two cars and driveway covered in what is thought to be acid this morning.

The councillor, who supports the return of grouse shooting to Ilkley Moor, also found the car tyres had been let down during the night.

The attack put the Vauxhall Tigra and Vauxhall Astra cars out of action when she needed to get to a crucial meeting in Wakefield which could seal major funding for road improvements in Bradford.

Coun Hawkesworth fears the attack is the work of animal rights activists, although no organisation had claimed the attack. She links the attack to the jailing this week of seven animal rights campaigners for blackmailing companies linked to animal testing group Huntington Life Sciences (HLS).

“The paint has been stripped off," she said. "One of the cars is going to have to be resprayed, and it’s gone on to the drive as well. The police will have to come first, then the cars will be taken away.”

Coun Hawkesworth said she was hesitant to speak out about the attack and her suspicions about who is responsible, as she does not want to publicise the cause of animal rights activists.

Hunt saboteurs have been highly critical of Bradford Council, including Coun Hawkesworth herself, for signing a ten-year deal with the Bingley Moor Partnership last year to licence grouse shootings on the moor.

Animal rights groups claimed they had destroyed grouse pens and traps on the moor last summer.

Shooting has not taken place on the council-owned moor for over 11 years, after Bradford councillors refused to renew a shooting licence in the late 1990s.

Coun Hawkesworth says she had previously taken advice from a council emergencies officer, who advises councillors on personal security. But her home address is made public on Bradford Council’s website and in Ilkley Parish Council newsletters.

“I actually display my address which, as a representative, I should be able to do and not feel intimidated to do so,” said Coun Hawkesworth.

Another Bradford councillor, Wharfedale ward member Chris Greaves, had to step in and give her a lift to the meeting in Wakefield, which she said was very important.

Inspector Sue Sanderson, of Ilkley Police Station, confirmed that officers were investigating the attack, and said animal rights involvement had not been ruled out.

Insp Sanderson said: “We’ll be doing door-to-door enquiries. At this moment in time we can’t link anything to animal rights, but enquiries are ongoing and if we find there is a link, we will take the appropriate action.”

“She is a senior figure in the parish council and district council and I’m sure there are people who potentially will have disagreements with her politics.”

Councillor Hawkesworth said later that one of the cars is likely to be an insurance write-off. She said police had advised her to put up security cameras at her home.