Another Hunting Act case brought by the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) has collapsed, meaning the group has not seen a single successful prosecution in the past two seasons. This is despite increased “monitoring” of packs.

A judge threw out the attempt by LACS to prosecute George Milton, joint-master and huntsman of the Weston and Banwell Harriers, saying “there was no case to answer”.

Mr Milton was accused of hunting a fox on 11 February 2012, near Cheddar. LACS investigating officer Graham Floyd claimed to have witnessed the incident.

But at the trial on 8 April at Taunton Magistrates Court, magistrates found that Mr Floyd had not been close enough to have identified Mr Milton, saw no fox until 25min after he claimed to have seen the defendant and that Mr Milton was 1km away at the time of the alleged offence.

The Countryside Alliance (CA) said the case was “proof that the LACS is increasingly desperate to justify its massive spend on covert surveillance”.

“LACS spends hundreds of thousands of pounds of its members’ money running such ‘operations’ every year,” said the CA’s Tim Bonner.

“Yet there has not been a single successful Hunting Act prosecution as a result of its activity in the past two seasons.”

He added that campaigns run by LACS and other animal rights groups were “nothing more than harassment”.

Joe Duckworth of LACS told H&H he was “disappointed” with the outcome but added: “This was an old case from the 2011-12 season. We now have a large number of cases of illegal hunting from 2012-13, which we are progressing with the police.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (18 April 2013)