[O]fficers joined volunteers from the South Lakes Deer Management Group on Friday night (June 30th) to target poaching hot spots and conduct vehicle spot checks as part of Operation Samurai.
Going on into the early hours of Saturday morning, the operation saw volunteers observe rural areas at a number of locations, starting at Haverthwaite.
Police officers were also nearby and ready to respond if suspicious activity was suspected. Around fifteen vehicles were checked and occupants spoken to.
Since the beginning of 2016, 80 reports of deer poaching have been made to Cumbria Police – four charges have been made in that time.
PC Sarah Rolland, Wildlife Crime Officer in South Lakes, said: “Deer poaching is still an issue for rural areas in Cumbria and I am grateful to all the volunteers who gave up their Friday night to help us tackle the problem together. Without their support, we would not be able to run these operations as effectively.
“Operation Samurai has been taking place for a number of years now and helps us to gather intelligence, which enables us to prevent this terrible crime. We will continue to take action and poachers should be aware that we will not tolerate their criminality in Cumbria.”
A spokesperson for the South Lakes Deer Management Group said: “The continuing use of despicably cruel methods by poachers is an affront to our native deer and to those people who live and work in the countryside where the deer are to be found.
“We understand that deer numbers need to be controlled, to ensure a healthy and balanced deer population – but every time a poacher takes a deer without regard to age, gender of condition of the animal, that balance is much more difficult to achieve.
“To combat this criminal activity it is essential that we all continue to work together to ensure these criminals are brought before the courts and dealt with appropriately.”
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “I am really pleased to see operations such as this one, where we work together with people in our communities to tackle criminal behaviour such as deer poaching, and I would like to thank the volunteers for taking part. We couldn’t do it without you. I hope the success of this operation sends a clear message to criminals that we will absolutely not tolerate poaching in our county, and we will catch you.”
Anyone with information about poaching should contact Cumbria Police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.