Yorkshire men who used dogs to hunt and kill deer on Christmas Eve hauled before the courts

Two men who used lurcher dogs to hunt and kill a deer on Christmas Eve have appeared before the courts as police warn wildlife crime will not be tolerated.

A generic picture of a deer in the woods

Scott Hayes, 24, of Blakewood Drive, Blaxton and Christopher Darwin, 28, of Laycock Avenue, Doncaster were spotted by police coming off private land with lurcher dogs in Haxey on December 24.

The body of a freshly killed male Roe deer was discovered nearby and further investigations revealed its injuries were consistent with it being killed by dogs.

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The two men, who appeared before court, were found guilty of poaching offences and sentenced to a 12 month community order. They must also do 300 hours of unpaid work, pay £350 court costs and made subject to a three-year Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) preventing them from entering the Humberside Police area.

Chief Inspector Paul Butler said, “This court result should send out a very clear message to those who commit wildlife offences that we take these offences seriously and will seek other sanctions available to the courts.

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“The obtaining of CBOs in this case provides other police forces with a straight forward tool to deal with these men if they choose to commit wildlife offences with the use of the type of dog involved. I would like to thank the Wildlife Crime Officers involved in bringing this case before the court, the CPS Prosecutors involved and also the court for taking such offences seriously”.

Deer poaching is a problem in many areas across the UK. It can involve extreme cruelty to the deer targeted, especially when dogs are used to chase and drag them down. Many offenders operate across several counties, travelling long distances to target specific locations.

The use of lurcher type dogs features in most poaching offences committed during both the day and night.

Chief Inspector Butler added: "Poaching activity is a blight on the countryside and many of those involved are linked to other offending. Members of rural communities often feel vulnerable and intimidated by poachers who can be aggressive or offer violence if challenged.

"If you witness suspected poaching offences taking place, particularly where lurcher type dogs are being used please report it to the police via 999."