Last year, the number of sportsmen from overseas covered by visitors? permits, which allow the holder to possess a firearm or shotgun in the UK without holding a UK certificate, reached an all-time high of 10,415.

John Duncan, director of shooting at sporting agency Roxtons, said he was not surprised at the high numbers: ?Despite what?s happening in the world, our overseas business is holding up pretty well ? the UK continues to prove very popular with both Americans and Europeans.?

?This is the home of driven pheasant shooting, and we offer such a variety of sport in the British Isles. If you look at a country such as Spain, they just concentrate on the driven partridges, so they really don?t have the diversity of sport that we have here.?

During 2010/11 there was an increase of 16% compared with the previous year, and 2,559 people were covered by firearm visitors? permits, the highest number since the statistics were first recorded in 1995.

There was also a nine% increase in the number of people covered by shotgun visitors? permits, with 7,856 people covered, only just below the highest recorded annual figure ? 7,930 in 2007/08.

Gordon Robinson, from the Royal Berkshire Shooting School?s sporting agency, described the news as ?amazing? and said that one possible reason could be an increase in grouse numbers.

He commented: ?There are a lot more grouse around than there ever have been, and they?re much more reliable. We used to get peaks and troughs, but they have levelled off which makes grouse shooting in the UK for foreign Guns much more attractive.?

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