Rural wildlife crime still rising during lockdown
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Police in rural areas are appealing for members of the public to let them know about any incidents involving poaching and livestock rustling.
Officers have seen a rise in incidents such as hare coursing and the number of thefts of farm animals taking place.
Poaching is one of six priorities set by the National Wildlife Crime Unit which encourages reporting of all wildlife crimes to local forces.
Gloucestershire Constabulary has a dedicated team of rural and wildlife crime officers working across the whole force area, and they are keen to work with the local communities to tackle this criminality.
Grazing animals can be an easy target especially in remote rural locations. Actions which can be taken by farmers to help protect their livestock include:
- checking on your animals regularly
- report any suspicious vehicles
- improving security around the area where the animals graze
- using ear tags, horn brands, freeze marking, hoof branding, tattoos and microchips to help identify your animals if they are stolen
- in the case of cattle (cattle, bison or buffalo), report the loss or theft of an animal to the British Cattle Movement Service within seven days
- consider joining any Farm Watch scheme running in your area.
Inspector Simon Ellson urged members of the public to come forward to tell police of any incidents, or evidence of wildlife crime, so that officers can take the appropriate action.
He said: "Wildlife crime is any activity that goes against legislation protecting the UK's wild animals and plants. It can cause pain and suffering to animals, push species closer to extinction and can be linked to other serious crimes like firearms offences and organised crime.
"Wildlife law is complicated and it can be hard to know whether something is a crime and whether, or when, to involve the police. We'd rather you contacted us and we investigate, than not hear from you."
If you think a wildlife crime is being committed then contact us by reporting a crime on our website: https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/.
You can also report wildlife crime anonymously to Crimestoppers, by calling 0800 555 111.