A trio of poachers, caught by Northamptonshire Police near Wellingborough, have have pleaded guilty at Northampton Magistrates’ Court to committing offences under Section 1 of the Night Poaching Act 1828
The three men were charged with trespassing on private land for the purpose of catching wildlife after a suspicious van parked near Moonshine Gap between Little Harrowden and Sywell, on December 5 last year, was reported to Northamptonshire Police.
Following an extensive search by officers, Kieran Hindley, Carl Maguire, and David Bradshaw were found in the opposite field with four Lurcher type dogs and a Harris Hawk, police said. The men were also found to be in possession of equipment commonly used for the purpose of poaching including numerous animal call whistles which encourage the prey out and a lamp to spot them.
Hindley, aged 34, of Long Moss, Netherton, Bootle, Maguire, aged 33, of Heathfield Road, Birkdale in Southport, and Bradshaw, aged 42, of Longfield Avenue, Crosby, Liverpool, were each ordered to pay £463.04 in compensation.
At the hearing on Friday, June 10, magistrates also ordered that the Harris Hawk, all equipment, and a van, which were seized under the Night Poaching Act 1828, were not returned to the men.
PC Chloe Gillies of the Rural Crime Team, who led the investigation, said: “I hope this conviction sends out a strong message to those who are involved in wildlife crime.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the member of the public whose initial report of the suspicious vehicle enabled us to locate the men at the scene and led to this successful conviction under poaching legislation.
“The men had travelled from the North-West area that night for the sole purpose of poaching and were all wearing dark and camouflage clothing. Both they and the dogs were covered in mud and one of the men had blood on his trousers.
“The Harris Hawk was slightly under-weight and had pressure sores on her legs, blunt talons and mud on her tail and wing feathers. The carry case they used in the vehicle was also too small for her. She is now safe and has a new home.
“Illegal activity such as this will not be tolerated, and the Force’s Rural Crime Team will continue to work pro-actively alongside our partners and rural communities to tackle these crimes.
“I’d urge anyone who sees or knows about something like poaching taking place to let the police know by calling 999 if it’s happening at the time or reporting it via 101 or online after the event so we can take action.
“The vital details we need are the vehicle registration, make and model, as well as where the activity is taking place – the What3Words app is extremely useful for pinpointing exact rural locations. Information about the number of people and dogs involved, and their descriptions, is also really helpful.”
Visit www.northants.police.uk for more information and advice on wildlife crime.