A CRACKDOWN has been launched by police on illegal poaching of animals.
Game dealers, restaurateurs, hotels and public houses are being advised by police to check that they are not buying illegally killed game.
Police say they should not buy meat from people they do not know, report immediately suspicious gatherings in car parks around vans or 4x4s and dealers in game should show legal documentation for the sale of meat.
Chief Inspector Martin Sims, who leads on wildlife crime for Sussex Police, said: ‘Commercial poaching is a serious problem on various levels. It is not a faceless crime.
‘There is a real risk to public health as meat is introduced illegally into the system and, in the case of deer poaching, the animals are shot at night using high-powered weapons with an obvious risk to public safety.
‘There is also concern for deer not being killed in a clinical and professional manner as many are shot with weapons not suitable for the size of the animal.
‘I would urge anyone to contact police with any information that would help in catching poachers, especially if they have been offered meat from sources other than bona fide dealers.’