NGO and Wiltshire Police join forces to tackle wildlife crime
The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation and Wiltshire Police are working hand in hand to help reduce rates of poaching and hare coursing and to increase successful prosecutions.
Thanks to a £500 donation from the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) the Rural Crime Unit at Wiltshire Police is now able to set up a scheme to seize dogs that have been used in these crimes.
PC Marc Jackson, part of the Rural Crime Team at Wiltshire Police, has been given the go ahead to set up a system to seize coursing dogs and thanks to the donation from the NGO is now able to set up the scheme. Wiltshire’s scheme is based on a model created by Hampshire Constabulary.
PC Marc Jackson, said: “The donation from the NGO enables our team to retain dogs used in coursing and poaching until court trials and as a result we hope to improve the chance of getting the dogs removed and disrupting the hare coursers.
“The donation will go towards set-up costs to help buy cages, leads and food for the dogs which are then passed to ‘dog-fosters’ who help look after them until court trials. This will be the first time that Wiltshire will be seizing dogs full-time.”
Nick Stiff, Wiltshire Chairman of the NGO, said: “Illegal poaching and coursing is a huge problem for our members and is one of the most reported rural crimes. As a member of the Rural Crime Partnership, we’ve worked hard over the years with the police to help those effected by these crimes, and hope to have more success in bringing these criminals to justice and helping to end this huge problem.
“This new scheme will undoubtedly go some way towards decreasing the prevalence of these crimes and will show the benefit of seizing dogs. If this scheme proves successful, which we believe it will, we would like to see it replicated across the country.”
The illegal hunting and capturing of wild animals, mainly hare or deer, is the most prevalent wildlife crime in terms of both numbers of reports and arrests.