Poachers are being identified and targeted in the New Forest in a new initiative by Forest Watch police officers. Sergeant Louise Hubble heads up the Forest Watch partnership project to tackle rural community issues including wildlife and environmental crime in the New Forest.The initiative is led by the New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire Constabulary and partners to look at everything from fly-tipping to poaching, arson and nuisance vehicles.
'They have no regard for wildlife or land'
Sgt Hubble said this time of year traditionally saw an increase in poaching throughout the countryside. Hare coursing begins once crops have been harvested, game birds are plentiful as the shooting season approaches, fishing lakes are well stocked and deer become a target on the approach to the festive season.
She said: ‘Poaching can no longer be portrayed as the romantic image of one man and his dog taking a rabbit or a pheasant for the pot. Modern-day poachers tend to work in organised gangs, often causing damage with 4x4s and have a number of dogs and weapons including firearms.'
Animals are left to die a slow and agonising death
‘They have scant regard for the countryside,' she added, 'and no regard for the wildlife they injure or the land that they destroy. They seldom consider animal welfare issues. It is rare that animals are poached merely for food and it is more often the case that animals are pursued for sport or financial gain.
‘Previous incidents in the New Forest have involved deer being injured with cross-bolts and left to die a slow and agonising death, game birds being targeted with catapults and fish being taken by illegal methods.'
Sgt Hubble is asking people who see anything suspicious to contact the police on 101 (non-emergency) or 999 (emergency). She said landowners, game keepers and members of the public should be bear in mind that poachers may well have firearms, weapons and dogs and should consider their own welfare. More....