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Ribble Valley farmer in bid to stop ‘barbaric’ criminals
A FARMER has revealed the barbaric lengths poachers will go to in a bid to profit from rural crime.
Lancashire Police have launched a crackdown on wildlife crime and are urging farming communities to become ‘more suspicious’.
Ally Weare, 40, who runs Huckling Farm in Gisburn with his family, has fallen victim to poachers and thieves.
He said: “These people can be very nasty and serious criminals.
“One of our neighbours had a dead lamb left on their doorstep by poachers as an apparent warning for daring to confront them.
“We’ve had windows smashed and tyres slashed to try and scare us from challenging them.
“My dad was always chasing away poachers when I was a child, so it’s been instilled in me to be suspicious.
“We have a good farming community in Gisburn where we talk amongst ourselves and pass on information. Others should do the same.
“It is easy these days with technology to note down a car number plate, make or model or just take a quick picture on a mobile phone to send to the police.”
Mr Weare said he had suffered from his sheep and lambs being worried by dogs in recent incidents.
He said his farm has been the target of ‘opportunists’ preten-ding to have broken down, claiming to be delivering phone-books or even outright asking for scrap metal to sell.
Supt Richard Spedding is leading Operation Firecrest which involves farm and business visits, meetings, attending auction marts, anti-poaching patrols and arrests across rural areas of East Lancashire such as the Ribble Valley and Pendle.
The aim of the operation is enforcement and prevention by encouraging landowners and gamekeepers to report any theft or suspicious activity to police in order to disrupt and deter countryside criminals.
Supt Spedding said there were an average seven rural crimes a day across Lancashire and the nature of the isolated areas made detecting such crimes more difficult.
He said: “Rural crime such as the theft of livestock, machinery and tools tends to be of a higher value.
“We cannot be everywhere and cannot fight this problem on our own.
“We need to work smarter to stop this becoming a major issue.
“These people are really well organised.
“Some of their practices are barbaric and inhumane.
“The farming community is hard working, decent and trustworthy. I don’t want to say be too cynical, but they should ring us with any reports of suspicious activity.”
Contact police on 08451253545.
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