Officers from Hampshire Constabulary have secured convictions against another four men as part of a drive to tackle rural crime including poachers in Longparish.
On Monday, February 10, Henry Woolford, 19, from Lyne Road, Virginia Water, and William Read, 38, from Mead Avenue, Langley, in Slough, were convicted at Basingstoke magistrates for daytime poaching in pursuit of game in Longparish on September 28.
On Monday, February 3, 18-year-old Edward Jesse James Goddard, of Winchester Street, Botley, pleaded guilty to night poaching at Basingstoke magistrates court. He was fined and ordered to pay costs of £305, and the equipment used in the incident was subject to a forfeiture order.
A 20-year-old man from Southampton received an adult caution for his involvement in the offence, which took place on December 12 in Bramdean.
Each defendant was ordered to pay a compensation only financial penalty of £2,500 to Hampshire Constabulary for kennelling costs.
A forfeiture order for the dogs was not upheld and they were returned to the owners.
On Thursday, February 14, Thomas Eastwood, 58, of Worsley Road, Frimley, was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court to 10 months in prison for two offences of handling stolen goods.
This followed a lengthy investigation by Countrywatch officers following reports by members of the rural community into suspicious vehicles and incidents in Upton Grey and South Warnborough in July and August last year.
Chief Inspector Simon Dodds, strategic lead for rural policing, said: “”These successful results are further examples of how the police and local community are working together to reduce incidents of crime in rural areas and make Hampshire and the Isle of Wight a hostile place for criminals.”
“We are working hard with the courts to secure the maximum penalties that we can because we need the punishment to act as a significant deterrent to these offenders, and anyone else considering these types of crimes.”
“In all of these incidents, we have used information provided to us by members of the public to help build our cases against these individuals to put them before the courts.”
“These results show how vital that information is. Reports of suspicious activity or sightings of vehicles where they shouldn’t be allow us to build a case against those who are intent on coming here to commit crime. There can sometimes be a perception that because action isn’t seen to be taken at the time, that nothing is happening.”
“I hope these results show our rural communities that we are listening, we do take action and we are committed to tackling, disrupting and ultimately preventing criminal activity across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.”
Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner Judy Venables said: “This is another successful outcome that highlights the value of Hampshire Constabulary bringing these cases to court. Through the hard work of the investigating police officers and with the help of CPS, we are committed to ensuring that rural crimes are effectively prosecuted.”
“The level of financial penalty imposed upon the defendants indicates that this case was taken seriously by the court. It’s also gratifying that the magistrates felt that a significant contribution should be made to the kennelling costs incurred by the police.”
“This continues to send out a strong message to those who might consider committing such crimes in Hampshire or the Isle of Wight, that they will be pursued and prosecuted. Despite the fact that a permanent forfeiture order was not awarded on this occasion, we will continue to ask for this in recognition of the fact that, in cases such as this, the illegal use of dogs is frequently an integral element in the commission of these crimes.”
You can visit www.hampshire.police.uk for more information about rural policing issues and to contact your local Countrywatch team.
Anyone with information about crime in rural communities can call 101 or the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.