By Tony Gussin
Worried Exmoor residents packed into Lynton Town Hall last night (Thursday) for a police meeting called to tackle deer poaching.
Farmers, landowners and interested parties gathered for the launch of Project Trespass in the region, the first co-ordinated effort to tackle a problem that appears to be spiralling out of control.
There is deep concern across the moor at the scale of the problem, with far fewer stags seen this rutting season, tales of wounded deer, illegal traps, firearms and hunting with dogs, not to mention the grisly discovery of 11 stag heads in a South Molton lay-by, as revealed by the Gazette.
Last night’s meeting was the first of two, with another scheduled for Shirwell Village Hall on Friday, November 22.
The key message was that people needed to work together, share information and inform police as soon as they see or suspect poaching is taking place on their land.
“You are our eyes and ears, if you see poaching or any crime, you need to contact the police immediately by calling 999,” PC Martin Beck, wildlife crime officer told the audience.
“If you have people on your land trespassing at night, that’s inherently dangerous. I know people are out there using crossbows, the wrong firearms, snares and traps, all methods which are not legal.
“People have said to me that at some point someone is going to get shot, so we need to wake up and start sharing information.” More....