Crackdown on wildlife crime

PUBLISHED: 10:38 24 February 2016 | UPDATED: 10:38 24 February 2016


Officers from East Devon and West Dorset move to safeguard rural communities

Police from across the westcountry have joined forces to fight wildlife crime.

Officer from East Devon, West Dorset and South Somerset have taken part in a training event as part of a new initiative to combat poaching and other crimes that impact on rural communities.

Dorset Police operational lead for wildlife crime, Inspector Mike Darby, said: “Cross border partnerships have proved successful in the past, which is why various organisations will be gathering together on a more frequent basis.

“This training event gives officers and organisations opportunities to share knowledge and learn about the huge amount of legislation in relation to different species, including door mice, badgers, eels and bats and also gaining a further insight into fox hunting legislation and animal cruelty offences.”

The event covered an array of legislation which can be used by agencies to successfully prosecute offenders and identify wildlife crime offences. Participants were shown different types of traps and devices used to capture animals, the signs to look for in wildlife being poisoned and illegally killed. Delegates were also shown how to examine poaching sites and seize evidence.

Inspector Darby continued: “There are a wide range of laws which people can be prosecuted for. The people who commit rural crime offences tend to be involved in other types of criminality as well.

He added: “Reports of poaching in West Dorset is quite significant. Wild deer and pheasant rearing operations are targeted along with hare coursing and fisheries. These crimes normally happen at night.

“These offences have a significant impact on the landowners where their property is damaged and their livelihoods impacted by criminal activity.

“Illegal traps used to poach and kill wildlife do not discriminate between wildlife, livestock or domestic pets.

“We often get called by gamekeepers and landowners stating that there are people trespassing on their land. We will seek to take positive action against offenders.”

“People who commit rural crime have a significant impact on land owners and people’s legitimate businesses.”

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