A MAN was captured poaching on a trail camera set up outside a pheasant pen on private land near Wareham.

Lewis Longstaffe, aged 23, and of Sandy Lane in Upton, was among three men seen using a hand lamp and catapult to take pheasants from the pen in the early hours of Friday, December 22, 2017. Between Saturday, April 29, 2017, and Tuesday, May 2, 2017, a burglary occurred at a farm building near Dorchester. A padlock was forced and various equipment valued at around £2,700 was taken.

A discarded screwdriver was found on the floor by the door and DNA analysis linked it to Longstaffe.

He denied the offence and was found guilty following a trial on Wednesday, July 25, 2018.

He admitted the poaching offences on the same date and was sentenced to a community order with a requirement to carry out 50 hours of unpaid work in the community. He was also given a rehabilitation activity requirement and was ordered to pay £750 compensation for the poaching and £350 for the burglary offence.

On Thursday, September 20, Longstafffe appeared at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court where he was made the subject of a Criminal Behaviour Order.

The order, which runs until September 20, 2023, states he must not:

• Be on any private land without prior written permission from the owner or legal representative of the land and to produce any such written permission when asked to do so by a police officer, unless it is land to which the public have access

• Be in possession of any dog while on private land whether the public have access or not

• Be in possession of a wild animal, wild bird or part of a wild animal or wild bird living or dead in Dorset

• Be in possession of a catapult in any place other than a dwelling in Dorset

Police Constable Claire Dinsdale, of Dorset Police’s Rural Crime Team, said: “On behalf of the rural community we very much welcome this result.

“Crimes such as poaching, criminal damage, burglary and theft are prevalent across Dorset farms.

“The cost of rural crime has risen to £44.5m nationally in 2017 and organised criminals target farms and other rural businesses, making life very hard for rural victims.

“Where farmers have tried to challenge trespassers, whether stealing or poaching, they are met with threats and abuse or worse."

She added: “Rural crimes can often be harder to detect compared to urban crimes where CCTV and witness evidence assists a prosecution case.

“Rural communities are assisting the police greatly in their use of technology, such as trail cameras, to capture more evidence of this kind."