By Ian Noble
Poachers caught with lurcher dogs and a lamp in a field while hunting rabbits have been fined.
Police travelling along the A689 at Sewage Corner Field, near Stanhope, spotted a lamp beam moving across the field at 9.55pm on October 16.
They stopped and spoke to Dominic Barlow, 25, of Collingwood Street, in Coundon, and Mark Howe, 27, of Leeholme Road, Leeholme.
Newton Aycliffe magistrates heard that Barlow and Howe had lurchers with them and that they had told the police they were there to take rabbits.
Howe and Barlow both pleaded guilty to a charge of entering as a trespasser at night with poaching equipment.
Neither of the defendants was represented in court and neither said anything in mitigation.
Both Howe and Barlow will pay a £100 fine plus costs of £85 and a £20 victim surcharge. The lamp was forfeited and will be destroyed.