Suspected poachers arrested - Op Gallileo

Alert message sent 22/10/2021 17:00:00

Information sent on behalf of Wiltshire Police

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Wiltshire Rural Crime Team has had a busy week tackling poaching-related crimes in the county. On Wednesday a 4-wheel drive vehicle that was suspected of having been used for night poaching was seized and three men were arrested yesterday, 21 October, for a separate offence of criminal damage and driving on a road without insurance, in the offences of S34 driving otherwise than on a road and the daytime poaching under the Game Law Act.

The three men had been witnessed pushing or ramming open a metal farm gate and driving across farmland damaging newly planted crops in contravention of Section 34 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The vehicle was also witnessed to be following a ‘long dog’ pursuing what was believed to be game.

PC Simmonds of the Rural Crime Team said: “With the help of colleagues from the firearms and road policing units the vehicle was stopped on the A4361 near to Broad Hinton.”
“Three male occupants were arrested at the scene and have since been released under investigation. They had three ‘long dogs’ in the vehicle with them.”

“On this occasion there are a number of witnesses and body worn video available for evidence. We are not always that fortunate,” commented Rural Crime Team Sgt Fergusson “only earlier month we had 5 men, equipped with night vision goggles, with five dogs in their vehicle and more than 45 miles from their homes who failed to stop for police when told to do so.”

“They were stopped later that night, in the south of the county, arrested, interviewed and the file supported by CPS for entering land as a trespasser at night with poaching equipment.”

“However, all five were found not guilty, although one was convicted of failing to stop and fined. The reason was that we could not prove beyond all reasonable doubt that they had been poaching.”

“It is important that we have, as has happened in this latest arrest, good quality visually recorded evidence, eye-witness testimony of animals being pursued or if we find there is quarry in the vehicle. We do not advise people to approach suspected poachers, but video evidence taken from a safe distance can be helpful. Do not put yourself or others at risk.”

By speaking up with information that could stop crime, we can all play a part in keeping the countryside and its creatures protected. If you know something that could help, please report it online of call 101. In an emergency always call 999.

Vehicle suspected of being used for night poaching seized by Rural Crime Team

Message sent by
Philip Mackie (Police, Communications Officer, Wiltshire)

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