Police clamp down on night-time poaching in Pewsey area
Poachers have been targeted by Wiltshire Police’s rural crime team, leading to several arrests.
The team worked with the MOD, Tri force, air support, and dog units to detect and prevent trespassers partaking in lamping on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 August.
Lamping is method of hunting nocturnal animals – such as foxes, hares, rabbits, and ground game – using off-road vehicles and high-powered lights.
Although lamping is not illegal, is does require the permission of the landowner. Police say that illegal lamping often leads to damage to crops and often go hand-in-hand with burglaries from farm outbuildings.
On Thursday, men and dogs were spotted lamping in a Subaru.
The resulting pursuit saw the car being driven off road through fields, coming to rest in a riverbed; the men then ran off.
Police dogs were used to locate the men, who were arrested on suspicion of hunting with dogs, dangerous driving and endangering other road users.
Two were from the Frome area – aged 15 and 20, the other two from Hampshire – aged 24 and 18.
A Vauxhall Astra containing five males and dogs which had come from the Hampshire area was also stopped; officers issued “Section 35 notices” which means those issued with such a notice have to leave Wiltshire for a prescribed time.
PC Marc Jackson from the Wiltshire Rural Crime Team said: “The aim of this operation is to work alongside rural communities who are affected by rural based criminality such as burglaries, thefts and poaching related offences, which has a significant effect on those communities
“Communities around Pewsey, Everleigh and Upavon have concerns over night poaching, damage to crops and thefts from outbuildings on both farmland and the Salisbury Plain training area.
“In response to this, the Rural Crime Team has worked with local officers, Tri-force, the Special Constabulary and the MOD to employ a significant number of officers into those areas over two nights.
“They worked alongside local members of the rural communities to identify vehicles or people suspected of being involved in criminal activity, and where necessary positive action has been taken.
“The Rural Crime Team will continue to work in partnership with farming communities and our partners to tackle and prevent rural crime."
Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said: “Wiltshire is a rural county. The landscape is stunning and it attracts many visitors. Unfortunately a tiny minority come here not to enjoy the marvellous scenery, but to profit at the expense of hard working farmers and land owners.
“Making a living from the land is not easy and farmers living in isolated locations can be vulnerable to crime.
“So I was very pleased to hear about the results of this recent Wiltshire Police operation designed to target and disrupt those crossing the border into Wiltshire to carry out criminal activity.
“The rural crime team deserve credit for acting on intelligence and having people in place to move in, stop suspicious vehicles and make arrests for a range of alleged offences.
“I would urge everyone living in our rural communities to report any suspicious activity and pass on to Wiltshire Police any information they may have about planned illegal activities such as hare coursing, poaching or hunting.
“I would also remind people that there are real benefits to signing up to Community Messaging via my website. You can then tick the boxes for updates about the schemes which interest you, including Wiltshire Farm Watch and Wiltshire Horse Watch.”