By Phil Corrigan
POLICE caught three men with a dead deer in their van during an anti-poaching operation.
Officers arrested the trio on suspicion of hunting with dogs after they were found driving across Cannock Chase late at night.
They had the carcasses of a fallow deer and a rabbit in their vehicle, along with four lurcher dogs.
James Harvey, Kyle Rodgers and James Morgan, all from Stoke-on-Trent, received fines after admitting two counts of illegally hunting with dogs at Stafford Magistrates' Court yesterday.
Prosecutor Roger Price told the court that Staffordshire Police and the RSPCA had mounted a joint operation on the evening of November 23 following several reports of poaching.
At around 12.30am officers in a patrol car came across the van travelling along Broadhurst Green Road.
The two men in the front of the vehicle told the officers that they had 'found it while out rabbiting'.
Mr Price said: "The officer opened the rear of the van where he found a third man sat on the floor. There were also four lurcher-type dogs and, not least, the carcass of a fallow deer.
"It was still steaming with heat and was warm to the touch. Blood around the wounds was fresh and one of the dogs was eating from inside the deer." More....