Poacher Watch Scheme meeting

Landowners, gamekeepers and country sports enthusiasts in Angus are being invited to come along to a meeting at 7pm on Monday, November 18, at Forfar Police Station to discuss a proposed Poacher Watch Scheme.

The intended scheme, which aims to help combat the number of people illegally poaching in the area, will see officers sharing information about poaching and rural crime with community members via e-mail and phone messages.

In turn, it is hoped that members will act as additional eyes and ears while out and about in the county by reporting suspicious activity to the police, enabling them to quickly share crime prevention advice and gather vital intelligence to identify offenders.

Constable Blair Wilkie, a police wildlife crime liaison officer, is a firm believer that the police should work closely with community members to stamp out rural crime.

She hopes Poacher Watch will get the backing of local landowners, gamekeepers and other interested parties and will see a reduction in the number of incidents – which have ranged from groups of individuals with lurcher-type dogs lamping rabbits to poaching and deer stalking.

She said: “We urge people in the rural communities, farmers and landowners in the Angus area to come along to discuss the scheme and help us tackle the problem.

“The key to tackling rural crime is to report suspicious activity to police immediately so that we can act quickly.

“We also ask people to take down the registration numbers of suspicious vehicles as this can help us identify offenders.”

Similar schemes operate throughout Tayside and Constable Wilkie warns criminals they will be convicted when caught.

She added: “People caught committing any of these offences or any other wildlife crime will find themselves arrested, their vehicles, equipment and dogs seized and will ultimately end up before the courts.’’

Anyone with any information about poaching or wildlife crime in the area is urged to contact Police Scotland Tayside Division on 101 or speak to any police officer.