Police launch crackdown on Ribble Valley poachers

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POACHERS at work in the Ribble Valley are being targeted in a new rural anti-crime offensive.

Almost 100 warning letters have been sent out to suspected poachers across Lancashire warning them about the penalties they could face.

Vehicle number plates of suspected poachers which are noted by residents, police officers or park wardens will result in the registered owner receiving a deterrent letter.

It warns that if they are involved in poaching they risk having any equipment – including their dogs – seized and that they could face prosecution.

Police are working closely with gamekeepers and other organisations including the Environment Agency, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), landowners and farmers in this latest phase of “Operation Sika”, which has been running in the Ribble Valley for four years.

PC Carl Chew, of Ribble Valley Police, said: “The crops have been late this year due to the weather, but now they have been gathered we may start to see an increase in poaching. Also the rivers in our area are well stocked with salmon and sea trout and we have had reports of illegal netting.

“The ‘anti poaching’ letters highlight the action that will be taken against anyone caught poaching and the serious consequences they face by being part of this organised crime. We also have a new thermal imaging camera, which detects body heat, making it much easier for us to track down offenders. We take a tough stance on rural crime and, working very closely with our partners, we have created a database of intelligence against suspected rural crime offenders.”

l If you see suspicious activity in the countryside, don’t hesitate to contact the police.