Police hunt Ribble Valley poachers



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Police have issued a reminder they are continuing to target poachers who operate across the Ribble Valley.

The warning comes after the sentencing of two poachers caught in the Forest of Bowland last year.

Last November, two men were stopped by Ribble Valley Wildlife Crime Officer PC Carl Chew on the outskirts of Chipping, having earlier been observed by a gamekeeper 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, and last month, both pleaded guilty at Preston Magistrates’ Court, 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 via letter.

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.”

PC Chew went on to warn that poachers thinking of targeting the rural borough should think again. “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, land owners and gamekeepers also taking place,” he added. Our ‘In The Know’ messaging system is also very important for getting information out to the members of our rural communities. There are approximately 500 people signed up currently, and I would encourage more of our residents in the Ribble Valley to sign up to 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 to contact the police if they believe they have any information which can be used to stop this type of crime.