Avon and Somerset Rural Crime Team: How to deter poachers

Avon and Somerset Rural Crime team raise awareness of the perception of poaching being "taking one for the pot". This is no longer the case. Its organised groups taking game and livestock to sell into the food chain or making money from bets on illegal hunting such as hare coursing, which was banned in 2004.

It’s all about the money, with no regard for the welfare of the animals or the unsuspecting end customer. And there are a number of potential health risks are associated with the consumption of illegally-caught wild game, not least faecal and environmental contamination from unhygienic processing techniques.

These criminals don’t worry about causing damage to crops and property when they trespass. They’re not above theft of other items while they’re there either. Poaching can lead to animal welfare issues as well as serious loss of income from damage and the illegal taking of livestock or game.

You can deter poachers by restricting access to your land:

  • Make sure hedges and fences are in good condition.
  • Secure gates with strong padlocks and chains.
  • Install earth banks, ditches and obstacles to prevent standard vehicles getting onto fields.

Communication is important, both with your neighbours and with us. Gamekeepers and the farming community often witness and are most affected by rural crime, which is why we set up the Farm Watch scheme. You can find joining information on our website

Do pass on information about criminal activity. We need to know what is happening in our rural communities - call 101 to report crimes and suspicious incidents or to give intelligence. We want to hear about suspicious vehicles, damage to gates/padlocks and crop damage from vehicles. Please give us locations, dates, times and descriptions of individuals, vehicles and incidents.

You can text Farm Watch with information on 07492 888109 (do not use this number to report crime). Alternatively ring the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They never tell us who you are, just what you know.

You can also download a free app from the National Wildlife Crime Unit giving more prevention advice and information here