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Illegal poachers sentenced

14 Oct 2021

Two men who led police on a pursuit after being caught poaching have been handed strict court orders.

Albert Eastwood, 46, of Redhill, Surrey, and Charles Lee, 36, of Sevenoaks, Kent, were seen acting suspiciously by a member of the public on fields near Swaffham Bulbeck on 6 November, 2019.

Officers from the force’s Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT) caught the pair leaving the field in a Volvo S40 and when told to stop, Eastwood responded, “see you later mate”, and drove off.

Eastwood drove at double the limit through the village of Bottisham, however, a short while later he stopped the car and was arrested.

In March this year both men pleaded guilty to daytime trespass in pursuit of game (poaching) at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court.

They were handed a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) lasting for two years and both ordered to pay £594 in fines and costs.

The order states:

  1. Not be on agricultural or farm land, or any yards or working areas associated with that land, or be in possession of a sight hound, within Cambridgeshire, without the express permission of the land owner.
  2. Permission to be on land stated within condition 1, must be obtained in writing from the land owner stating the date permission was granted, must be obtained no more than seven days in advance from attendance on the land, must be carried on your person when attending the land, and must be presented to a police officer or Police Community Safety Officer (PCSO) immediately on request.

Eastwood was also found guilty of dangerous driving at Cambridge Crown Court on 18 June.

He was sentenced on Tuesday (12 October) at the same court to six months in prison, suspended for 24 months, 250 hours unpaid work, 30 days rehabilitation activity requirement (RAR), £2500 costs, disqualification from driving for 18 months and to complete an extended re-test.

The result comes after news the force had teamed up with six other police forces in the Eastern Region to tackle illegal coursing, lamping and poaching.

Sergeant Craig Flavell, from the RCAT, said: “Though this case was submitted before the launch of the seven-force collaboration around illegal coursing, lamping and poaching, it shows that the courts support us and our colleagues in tackling these activities across the East of England.

“If they breach the CBO they could be arrested and put before the courts again with a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

“The region’s rural landscape makes it a popular area for hare coursing and other rural crime, but as a force we work hard to bring offenders to justice.

“People can help us tackle hare coursing by looking out for groups of vehicles parked in rural areas, particularly by a gateway to farmland, on a grass verge, on a farm track or bridleway, estate cars, four-wheel drives or vans with dogs inside or groups of people using binoculars to spot hares. Anyone who sees illegal coursing, lamping or poaching in progress should call 999.”

For more information on rural crime, including how you can help, visit the force’s dedicated web page: https://bit.ly/3iaU1qY.

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