New Derbyshire police operation targets 'barbaric' wildlife crime

Police have launched a new operation to target the ‘barbaric’ crime of deer coursing in the Derbyshire countryside.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 1:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th October 2021, 1:57 pm

‘Op Gamekeeper’ aims to crack down on coursing and poaching – crimes where dogs catch their prey by speed and sight, as opposed to scent.

Derbyshire police’s Sgt Chris Wilkinson, who will lead on the operation, said: “We see a number of incidents where deer are being targeted ‘for fun’ in Derbyshire.

“It’s a disgusting and frankly barbaric crime that’s not only dangerous to animals, but also potentially to the public too. Criminals will often drive dangerously in public spaces and use their vehicles to drive across fields, releasing dogs from moving vehicles.

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Derbyshire police are to target deer coursing in a new operation. Image: Pixabay.

“There are also instances of criminal damage to fences and gates. The people committing this crime are often part of a much wider criminal fraternity responsible for agricultural thefts and other rural crimes.”

The force says this type of illegal activity can happen anywhere in a rural county like Derbyshire.

Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “Our rural communities are concerned about wildlife crime and the impact these activities have on their land and property. They want to see robust action against those who flout the law and to know officers trained in such matters are working hard to prevent further offences.

“Tackling rural crime is a key priority for me and I am fully behind any proactive enforcement that disrupts these cruel crimes and prevents land and livelihoods being damaged in the process."

If you know of illegal activity and would like to report suspicious activity or rural crime, call police on 101.