By Anna Williams
Seven people have been caught hunting illegally during a three-day police operation in Marlborough.
Sergeant Mike Porter, of Blenheim, said a ute, firearms, knives and dog-tracking gear were among the items police seized during the operation in June.
Six officers were involved in the operation, which saw people driving in remote areas of Marlborough stopped and questioned.
Police checked hunters had licences as well as permission to hunt in the areas they were in, Porter said.
Part of the operation was making sure people knew the rules and gathering information. The response from those hunting legally was positive, he said.
"Law-abiding hunters seem as concerned as we are about those hunting unlawfully," he said.
"They are giving all hunters a bad name. Farmers have had enough of stock going missing."
Illegal hunting and poaching had a significant financial impact on some farmers in Marlborough, Porter said.
Two people stopped had their gear seized in the Waikakaho Valley on June 19. The following day another hunter was arrested and had his gear and ute seized after being found in an area he had already been trespassed from.
On the last day of the operation, four people were busted.
Two had their firearms and hunting equipment seized after they were caught spotlighting in the Puhi Puhi Valley near Kaikoura, and another two people were caught hunting unlawfully on Arapawa Island in the Marlborough Sounds.
Police were investigating the incidents to establish if those caught would be charged.
More operations were planned targeting unlawful hunting and police would continue to have zero tolerance, Porter said.
"It's not difficult to get a permit, and everyone who gets a firearms licence is required to know the rules," he said.
"There is no excuse for unlawful hunting. People need to be aware that they could face significant consequences if caught."
Police encouraged anyone who saw people they believed to be hunting unlawfully to get vehicle registrations and report the matter to their local police station, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.