PSNI operation to stamp out wildlife crime

Representatives from NIEA, DAERA, PSNI, CAFRE, NIRSG, IGCT, Inspector Michael Simpson from Ballymena and PSNI Wildlife Liaison Officer, Emma Meredith, at the launch of Op Lepus.  INCT 40-740-CON
Representatives from NIEA, DAERA, PSNI, CAFRE, NIRSG, IGCT, Inspector Michael Simpson from Ballymena and PSNI Wildlife Liaison Officer, Emma Meredith, at the launch of Op Lepus. INCT 40-740-CON

An initiative aimed at stamping out illegal hare coursing events and illegal poaching has been launched in the Glenwherry area.

Following concerns raised by local farmers and landowners, PSNI officers will be undertaking targeted patrols in the rural spot as part of Operation Lepus.

Inspector Simpson said: “Officers on the ground will be assisted by colleagues from the Air Support Unit who will help monitor this hotspot area with Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA), more commonly known as drones as and when required.”

PSNI Wildlife Liaison Officer, Emma Meredith added: “ PSNI take all wildlife crime reports very seriously; be under no illusion that if a wildlife crime is identified, the persons in question will be reported to the Public Prosecution Service with a view to a prosecution. I am delighted the PSNI, organisational partners and the local residents are working together to combat wildlife crime in the area.”

The PSNI are working with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and in particular the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise through its Glenwherry Hill Regeneration Partnership project and other interested parties to raise awareness of the issue.

Inspector Martin Ruddy said: “We’re aiming to raise awareness about the issues but the PSNI cannot combat wildlife crime alone and so, I would urge anyone who wishes to report a crime, if they are a witness to a crime, or simply, if you are a farmer or a landowner and you’d like to report any suspicious activity or people on your land please contact police on 101.”