The NGO is taking a robust stand in an effort to curb the increasing number of traps and snares that are being illegally damaged or stolen. As well as call-birds being released from Larsen traps, release and laying pens are also a regular target for those wishing to stop the legal activities of keepers and game farmers.
At a recent meeting, it appeared that this is an extremely worrying development for gamekeepers and the problem seems to be growing. More than 25 members attending the meeting reported that they had suffered from traps being stolen or interfered with in the past few months but this could be just the tip of the iceberg. Yet gamekeepers seem to be reluctant to report these crimes to the police in the belief that nothing will be done to solve these crimes.
John Clarke, the NGO’s development officer for the north of England, believes this is the wrong approach. He said, “Fundamentally this is a crime and we need to report any incidence of theft, or damage to the police. Unless they have firm evidence that this problem is increasing, they are powerless to intervene. We definitely need to do something about this, which is why the NGO has developed a plan of action because traps and snares form an important part of our livelihood, as are release and laying pens that are also being targeted.”
In response to this problem, John is setting up a national database and is urging all our members to report any incidences to him so that he can start to create a national picture, which will be used to identify the extent of the problem.
John explains, “I will keep an ongoing record of all these crimes, so that we can discover the true extent of the problem. If we can gather enough nation-wide proof about the extent of the problem we can then present this to the police. I believe that with enough evidence, they will be obliged to step-up their efforts to investigate these crimes. . However, before reporting any incidents to me, it very important to obtain a police crime number, so that the theft or damage has been registered on the police’s own database if it needs to be checked in the future. This is in no way a criticism of the police but a means of highlighting the problem so that we can work together to find a solution.”
John is very keen to hear from members that have suffered from thefts, damage or interference to traps, but do remember to get a police crime number first. Please call him on his mobile: 07824 099937 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation: The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) represents the gamekeepers of England and Wales. The NGO defends and promotes gamekeeping and gamekeepers and works to ensure high standards throughout the profession. The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation was founded in 1997 by a group of gamekeepers who felt that keepering was threatened by public misunderstanding and poor representation. Today, there are 13,000 members of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation. www.nationalgamekeepers.org.uk