Landowners, gamekeepers and country sports enthusiasts in Angus are being urged to join Police Scotland in their fight against illegal poaching in the area.
They are being recruited to become the force’s additional “eyes and ears” in a new Poacher Watch scheme being launched cross the region.
The scheme, which will be officially launched at a meeting at Forfar Police Station next Monday, will involve officers using emails and texts to share information about rural crimes with their recruits in the countryside.
Constable Blair Wilkie, a Police Wildlife Crime Liaison Officer, said she hoped the anti poaching initiative would get the backing of local landowners, gamekeepers and countryside enthusiasts and lead to a reduction in wildlife crimes in the area which have ranged from groups of individuals with lurcher-type dogs lamping rabbits to poaching and deer stalking.
She said, “We urge people in the rural communities, farmers and landowners in the Angus area to come along to discuss the scheme and help us tackle the problem. The key to tackling rural crime is to report suspicious activity to police immediately so that we can act quickly.
“We also ask people to take down the registration numbers of suspicious vehicles as this can help us identify offenders.”
PC Wilkie added: “People caught committing any of these offences or any other wildlife crime will find themselves arrested, their vehicles, equipment and dogs seized and will ultimately end up before the courts.’’
A force spokesman explained: “The intended scheme, which aims to help combat the number of people illegally poaching in the area, will see officers sharing information about poaching and rural crime with community members via e-mail and phone messages.
“In turn, it is hoped that members will act as additional eyes and ears while out and about in the county by reporting suspicious activity to the police, enabling them to quickly share crime prevention advice and gather vital intelligence to identify offenders.”