Police issue warning to poachers

Police say they are continuing to target poachers in Lancashire following the recent sentencing of two men caught last year.

Last November, two men were stopped by on the outskirts of Chipping having earlier been seen using high-powered lamps and two dogs to hunt game in the Forest of Bowland.

Both were later charged with one count of hunting a wild mammal with dogs.

The two men pleaded guilty at Preston Magistrates’ Court last month and were each made to pay a substantial fine.

As part of the pair’s trial, evidence was also presented that one of them had previously been warned about his poaching activities in a letter sent to him by police.

This letter was one of 143 letters sent out to suspected poachers in the Ribble Valley area as part of Operation Sika, a poaching operation that has been running since 2008.

PC Carl Chew said: “When we stop people, and they are found to be in possession of high-powered lamping equipment and hunting dogs, this obviously arouses suspicion that they may be poaching or illegally hunting.

“In the case mentioned, the officer found no game, but this is common for this type of crime, as it will often be left to be collected the next day, or just dumped on the land, so offenders are not caught red-handed.”

“Warning letters will continue to be issued to people suspected of being involved in poaching, as we are taking a tough stance on this type of rural crime, with joint patrols with partner agencies, landowners and gamekeepers also taking place.”

The warning comes days after three poachers were prosecuted and had their dogs seized in Hampshire .

Members of rural communities are urged to dial 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to contact police if they have information which can be used to stop this type of crime within their area.

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