Channel 4 exposé lifts the lid on fox hunting and secret police deal

A secret deal struck between the notorious Warwickshire Hunt and Warwickshire Police came under the spotlight in a hard-hitting fox hunting expose on Channel 4 News last night.

The programme highlighted how a community protection notice CPN – intended to deal with a long history of the Warwickshire Hunt being involved in dangerous traffic incidents – was dropped by senior figures in Warwickshire Police in favour of a protocol described as a ‘cosy backroom police deal’ which abandoned due process.

The Channel 4 news item also demonstrated how illegal hunting was still happening nearly 20 years after it was banned.

Footage obtained by the West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs showed the Warwickshire Hunt killing a fox after the deal was struck and also still engaged in anti-social behaviour with its hounds all over busy roads and at one point holding up an ambulance with emergency lights.

It was revealed the new deal did not oblige the hunt to notify police about its route and where it was crossing main roads, something that would have helped show if the hunt was chasing foxes rather than using the trail hunting deceit.

Chief superintendent Matt Longman, the lead on fox hunting crime for the National Police Chiefs Council, was interviewed and spoke about communities facing intimidation, criminal damage, and pets being killed by hunts.

He spoke about the flaws in hunting laws and how they needed an urgent review and noted how the advent of technology, social media and drones has changed things:

“It has lifted the lid on what is fast becoming possibly one of the most farcical eras in criminal justice history because hunts are still offending, we are seeing it regularly… so the Hunting Act cannot be working, trail hunting cannot be working… the Hunting Act is going to need reform and to close some of these loopholes that are continually being exploited and putting police in a very difficult position as we try to rebuild trust and confidence with our communities.”

Emma Smith, director of operations at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “I want to thank both Channel 4 for exposing the criminality of hunts and the failure of Warwickshire Police to hold them to account, and Matt Longman for his bravery in calling for a review in hunting laws.

“It’s time for change. The next government needs to step up to the plate and strengthen the Hunting Act 2004 and end the brutal blood sport of fox hunting once and for all.”

You can watch the Channel 4 News item here.


Notes to editors

The Hunting Act 2004 came into force in England and Wales in February 2005, and outlawed hunting with hounds. However, its many loopholes and the invention of so-called ‘trail’ hunting, described by the police as a smokescreen for illegal hunting, means it needs to be strengthened or replaced with more robust legislation.

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 07496 496454 (24hrs) or email

The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act 2004, the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021, stronger fox hunting laws in Scotland and a ban on snares in Wales. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage wildlife reserves. Find out more about our work at Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).

Animal Charity

Sign up for our newsletter

We'd love to keep in touch. With your permission we'll let you know the very latest news on our fast-moving campaigns, as well as appeals and other actions (such as petitions) so you can continue to help protect animals.

If you would like to know more about your data protection rights, please read our privacy policy.

© 2024 The League Against Cruel Sports. Registered charity in England and Wales (1095234) and Scotland (SC045533).
Registered in England and Wales as a company limited by guarantee, no. 04037610.
Registered office: New Sparling House, Holloway Hill, Godalming, GU7 1QZ, United Kingdom.