Poachers in the Ribble Valley to be targeted in crackdown on rural crime (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Poachers in the Ribble Valley to be targeted in crackdown on rural crime
POACHERS operating across the Ribble Valley will be targeted as part of a crackdown on rural crime.
Operation Firecrest was launched after 12 poaching incidents were reported since May.
Over the last few weeks, police have seen incidents relating to the large amount of wild deer, hares and rabbits in the area.
Around three weeks ago, the butchered carcass of a 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 at a later time.
Ribble Valley Wildlife Crime officer PC Carl Chew sent out over 20 anti-poaching letters to people suspected of poaching within the Ribble Valley.
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 plus the loss of vehicles, equipment and dogs.”
Poaching has been a long-term priority for officers in the Ribble Valley, and over the past four years, 138 letters have been issued as part of the area’s on-going operation, which has the codename Operation Sika.
PC Chew added: “Warning letters continue to be issued to such people suspected of being involved in poaching.
“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.”
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