Poachers be warned!

Clitheroe Police Station
Clitheroe Police Station

Police in the Ribble Valley have issued a warning to poachers after the Constabulary secured its first ever prosecutions under the Hunting Act.

Nicholas Green (23), of Reynolds Street, Burnley, appeared before Preston Magistrates on June 22nd where he pleaded guilty to hunting a wild animal with a dog. He was caught after officers attended a report of a suspicious vehicle on the outskirts of Longridge on June 4th and discovered a man leaving nearby farmland with lamps and two lurcher dogs. Green was given a £400 fine.

Jeffrey Johnson (34), of Forfar Street, Burnley, became the first person in Lancashire to be prosecuted under the Hunting Act. Johnson appeared before Hyndburn Magistrates on on June 9th where he was found guilty of hunting with dogs on the grounds of the former Altham power station in June last year. He was fined £270 and required to pay £265 costs.

Police are continuing to crack-down on poaching and other associated crime, such as theft of farming equipment, and are urging other local residents to report any suspicious activity.

Ribble Valley wildlife officer PC Carl Chew said: “We take a tough stance on rural crime and work very closely with agencies including the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), the Environment Agency, gamekeepers, landowners and farmers.”

“We all work tirelessly to protect Lancashire’s wildlife and I urge the farming community to continue to work with us to tackle the issue.”

Lancashire’s wildlife crime officer Mark Thomas added: “Lancashire Constabulary is dedicated to stamping out illegal poaching and rural crime. I hope this action reassures the farming community that the police are working to keep Lancashire safe.”

Anyone who sees anything suspicious or who has any information about poaching can contact police on 0845 125 35 45, or anonymously at Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.