ILLEGAL poaching gangs are attacking Calderdale’s deer herds.
Operating at night, they use dogs to catch their prey and either sell the meat or take it home for themselves.
Police are appealing for people to be vigilant to help them find the culprits. Special Constable Phillip Sanderson, Calderdale Police’s wildlife officer, said: “Keen walkers and ramblers are usually fully aware of their responsibilities in the countryside.
“Police look forward to their continued support in reporting any illegal behaviour and help in identifying offenders.”
He estimates there are between 50 to 60 roe and fallow deer living around the Calder Valley.
They dwell in small herds of between six and 12.
Poachers are mostly attacking the roe deer and the most recent reports have been in the Shibden and Mixenden areas.
“They’re very difficult to see. During the day they go to ground,” said Special Constable Sanderson. “To hunt deer you have to have permission from the landowner and it has to be the right season,”
As the breeding season starts, police are also tackling off-road riders who can threaten birds nesting on the ground.
Special Constable Sanderson, said: “All birds are protected in the breeding season. That includes their nests and young. Mere disturbance is an offence and offenders will be prosecuted.
“Mammals, including bats and badgers, will also soon be producing young.
“Their breeding sites are all protected by law.
“Any information passed to police will be dealt with robustly and the appropriate enforcement will be used.”
Anyone with information should call 0845 6060606.