Police in the rural Vale of Glamorgan are cracking down on poachers following an increase in reports of rural crime involving illegal hunting with dogs.
Access to farmland is being gained by removing or damaging field gates for the purposes of lamping and/or hare coursing.
This is resulting in damage to property including growing crops which is being driven across as well as allowing cattle and other livestock to escape onto the highway posing a risk to road users.
This is activity is taking place during the hours of darkness, with a specific focus on farmland between Wick and Southerndown.
Inspector Mark Henderson from South Wales Police said:
“We are carrying out increased patrols in the area and where appropriate we will stop and check vehicles seen travelling on the roads and lanes in the rural areas of the Vale of Glamorgan.
“We will take positive action to prevent and detect this type of crime which is also resulting in farm animals straying onto the highway and causing a danger to other road users.
“It’s very important that we know that a crime has taken place – not only to gather physical evidence but also to inform investigations of crime patterns in time and geography. Critically reporting these incidents helps us to identify where we need to deploy our resources to best effect.”
A number of officers from South Wales Police have recently taken part in a “Farm Awareness” course, sponsored by the Welsh Government, providing police officers with the knowledge required to attend farms, in the course of their daily duties, with the confidence of understand farming and importantly the dangers of the rural working environment.
The day included input covering the different types of farming in Wales and the real issues that face the industry, from the impact of rural crime to government rules and movement licences of livestock.
In the afternoon the officers were able to experience livestock up close, by assisting in the gathering of sheep and the dangers that can be presented by working with cattle both indoors and outdoors.
Different types of farm machinery were also on the agenda with health and safety covered and what to do to make farm vehicles safe if required to do so in an emergency.