Call for poaching crackdown 'before someone gets killed'
POLICE need to take a stronger stance against poaching before someone is killed, according to a top councillor.
The issue came into stark light earlier this week when a young male boar was found dead in woods near Coleford. It bled to death after being shot in the jaw.
Now, district and county councillor Terry Hale (Con, Newland and St Briavels) has called for the long arm of the law to be extended further before tragedy strikes.
"We don't know what kind of guns these people use, whether they're the right calibre or not," he said. "In the wrong circumstances a high powered rifle will kill someone from a mile and we need to be taking this more seriously because eventually someone will be shot and killed.
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"People really need to be vigilant and be calling 999 as soon as they see anything suspicious. I'd like to see the police sending out the helicopter when they get those kinds of calls to track these people down because we can't have them running the Forest with guns. I think they also need to be checking out things like firearms licences and tracking down people that way."
Police said they are looking for a group of men seen shooting at wild boar from a 4x4 in connection with the latest incident and assured people they take it seriously.
Sergeant Simon Clemett said: "The shooting of wild boar and taking of the carcass is a criminal offence and something we take very seriously, as shown by the fact we have made a public appeal for information. We have specialist wildlife officers throughout the county to help investigate this type of crime and excellent links with both the Forestry Commission, who told us of the discovery of this boar, and the National Wildlife Crime Unit.
"I can assure people that wherever offenders are identified and located they will be dealt with robustly.
"That might mean prosecution in the courts following arrest or a report for summons and in all cases will involve the confiscation of equipment including vehicles."