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Staff made redundant by leading anti-shooting charity

The League Against Cruel Sports has removed its investigations team amid official reports that show the organisation is struggling for funds

One of the League’s key goals is an end to the shooting of gamebirds

A leading anti-shooting and anti-hunting organisation has this month scrapped its investigations team and made a number of staff redundant.

The League Against Cruel Sports (LACS), which celebrates its centenary in 2024, has been struggling to pay its way, despite sizeable donations and legacies. Official Charity Commission records show that expenditure has exceeded income at the League for four out of five years between 2017 and 2021.

The League includes as one of its goals an end to the shooting of gamebirds, and in the past its investigators have targeted gamekeepers in the hope of catching them committing wildlife crimes. However, despite huge efforts and enormous financial outlay, successful prosecutions based on League evidence have been few and far between. 

In 2015, the charity had to drop a private prosecution brought with much fanfare — and £100,000 of funds — when it emerged that a key prosecution witness was a close friend of the charity’s head of operations.

The charity has struggled to retain both staff and senior leaders over the years. Companies House records show that the company League Against Cruel Sports (UK) Limited has gone through more than 40 directors since it was set up in 1993. 

Laid-off investigators went online to look for work. Among them was former hunt saboteur Roger Swaine. 

Last year, cross-examination of Swaine by lawyers for a huntsman and whipper-in led to a prosecution under the Hunting Act collapsing. After the defence lawyer tore Swaine’s evidence apart, Crown Prosecution Service lawyers told the court: “The concessions made by Mr Swaine… reduce the prospects of success such that there are no longer any reasonable prospects of success.”

After the trial, LACS director of investigations Martin Sims admitted he was “disappointed” with the result. 

The fate of Sims since the redundancies is unclear. In 2018, Shooting Times reported that Sims had attended point- to-points organised by local hunts to raise funds.