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Police stalking festive poachers

John Freeman
Police are asking residents and visitors to help hunt down poachers who commit additional crime while filling up on festive bounty - and have made a number of arrests recently.

Deer and game poaching tends to increase at this time of year, as poachers look to fill their Christmas tables with stolen meat.

Officers in rural areas in the north of the county have been carrying out high-visibility patrols, particularly around the border areas with Cumbria and Yorkshire, in a bid to reduce poaching and the accompanying crime that comes with it.

Poachers often commit criminal damage to rural properties, and can also be responsible for thefts from residential homes and farm buildings.

Members of the public are being asked to assist officers in their fight against poaching by reporting any suspicious activity to the police.

PC Antony Marsh, community beat manager for Silverdale and Warton, said: “While hundreds of deer are lawfully and professionally culled by trained deer stalkers every year, many more are cruelly killed by poachers looking to sell the meat on the black market. We tend to see a peak in this trade during the weeks surrounding Christmas.

“As well as taking animals, poachers are often responsible for thefts from farms and rural areas, so it is not just the local wildlife that is affected by them but also rural residents. There are also the associated problems of threats to farmers and game keepers, along with damage to property and crops.

“During our latest joint operation between Carnforth and Lancaster Rural NPTs, with the support of North Yorkshire Police and Cumbria Constabulary, six searches of people and vehicles were conducted, 12 traffic offences dealt with, and four arrests for theft offences were made," he added.

"This just highlights that other types of crime arise from poaching activity and we would really urge the public to support us by contacting us whenever they see something suspicious.”

• Poaching can also be reported to police on 0845 1 25 35 45, or on 999 if a crime is in the process of being committed. Information can also be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.