Wiltshire not going 'soft' on rural crime & poaching

Rural Crime Operation Sept 2017 - 1 (Wiltshire Police)

6:32am 13th September 2017
(Updated 6:33am 13th September 2017)

Police in Salisbury have joined with their colleagues in Hampshire and Dorset to crack down on rural crime.

As part of Operation Engage, two rural operations were run during August and the early part of this month.

More than 130 vehicles were stopped, for various issues, including vehicle defects.

The idea behind the crackdown was to tackle rural crime in the county, and involved officers from the local Community Policing Teams, Tri-Force, Special Constabulary volunteers, Intel, and further support from neighbouring forces Dorset and Hampshire police.


Day one of the first operation, organised by Salisbury's PCSO Matthew Smith, was a great success. A total of 35 vehicles were stopped on Thursday 24 August, and a further 73 vehicles stopped on the second day.

PCSO Matthew Smith told Spire FM:

"We want to reassure our rural communities, who can feel vulnerable due to their isolated locations, that we are working hard to disrupt and deter hare coursing and poaching in the county."

"Poachers and hare coursers have a considerable impact on the livelihoods of game keepers and farmers and we are committed to tackling the issue."

"Those involved in poaching and coursing are often from outside the county and are involved in other types of criminality too, such as theft of farm equipment. Operations like this are important to reinforce the message that Wiltshire is not a soft touch and we will not tolerate criminality within our rural communities."


During the second operation, which Salisbury PCSO Nicola Clark led, a total of 35 vehicles were stopped for various offences. Salisbury MP John Glen, who has previously been vocal in the House of Commons regarding rural issues, attended the operation briefing to discuss the problems faced by the local farmers and gamekeepers there supporting the operation.

PCSO Nicola Clark added by saying:

"This was a really successful operation and it was useful to hear about the issues facing local farmers and gamekeepers in our rural communities. Wiltshire is a predominantly rural county and therefore operations like this are really important to our communities. I hope a heightened police presence in these areas has provided reassurance to those in our most rural areas that we are dedicated to tackling crimes that affect them the most."


Anyone wishing to report rural crime should call 101, or 999 in an emergency or if a crime is in progress.

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