Cheshire-based Edgar Brothers told Scout bosses that they were interested in sponsoring the National Inter-County Shoot as well as the National Rifle Championships at Bisley.

However, internal emails seen by Shooting Times reveal that Scouting officials were worried that working with Edgar Brothers would not be seen as ethically ?on brand?.

A statement given to Edgar Brothers said: ?Unfortunately we cannot enter into a sponsorship arrangement? this is simply on the basis that The Scout Association?s fundraising policy does not allow Scouts to accept sponsorship from suppliers of firearms? this is a national policy and no exceptions can be made.?

Lisa Riley from Edgar Brothers told Shooting Times that she was shocked at the Scout Association?s response, and described its decision as ?bonkers?.

She said: ?They are happy to accept money from all sorts of businesses, but say ?no? when it comes to working with a company that has the best interest of the sport at heart. We just thought it was a great way of engaging children in shooting.?

Earlier this year, Scout HQ requested that Edgar Brothers remove an image on its website of Scouts using Hatsan air rifles that had been donated by Edgar Brothers after the theft of air rifles from a local scouting group.

Scout Association spokesman, Chris Foster, told Shooting Times that the decision to refuse sponsorship from Edgar Brothers was based on the organisation?s ?Ethical Donor Policy?, approved by the Scout Association?s Board in 2002.

He said: ?Scouting will not accept any form of sponsorship from individuals, organisations or industries associated directly with a number of products and services, including arms and ammunition.?

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