Police train sights on game poachers

Targeted: Sika deer are being targeted by poachers
Targeted: Sika deer are being targeted by poachers
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Police are targeting poachers in the Ribble Valley as part of Operation Firecrest, a week-long crackdown on rural crime.

More than a dozen poaching incidents have been reported by local farmers and gamekeepers since May involving wild deer, hares and rabbits.

Recently a butchered Sika deer was found near Bolton-by-Bowland. The deer appeared to have been shot and butchered at the scene before being hidden to be collected later.

Ribble Valley’s Wildlife Crime Officer PC Carl Chew has sent out letters to around 20 people suspected of poaching within the area.

He said: “When we stop people, as we did in the early hours of Saturday morning, and a vehicle was found to contain hunting dogs and animal blood, this arouses suspicion.

“In this case no game was found, but this is common for this type of crime as it will often be left to be collected the next day so the offenders are not caught red handed as they risk prosecution, loss of vehicles, equipment and dogs.

“Lancashire Police are taking a tough stance on this type of rural crime and joint patrols with partner agencies, land owners and gamekeepers are taking place.

“But due to the vast area that the Ribble Valley covers it is not always possible to be in the right place at the right time.

“This is why our ‘In The Know’ messaging system is so important to get information out. There are approximately 500 people signed up for this valuable service.”

Members of rural communities are being urged to be extra vigilant and to use the “101” police non-emergency number or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.