A REPEAT rural crime offender has been jailed after a live video broadcast on social media on Christmas Day showed him pretending to fire a catapult.

Scott Matthew Cochrane had been banned from possessing a catapult by a criminal behaviour order made by the courts.

The order prevented the 30-year-old from entering a number of rural areas of Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire and also included a number of other conditions, one of which said he must not be in possession of a catapult.

However, on Christmas Day last year Dorset Police was made aware of a live stream video that had been uploaded to social media that showed Cochrane sat in the passenger seat of a 4x4 vehicle in a rural location.

The video showed Cochrane, of Yarrow Close in Poole, pull out a catapult and pretend to fire it at the person who was filming. The occupants then stop the vehicle when they notice something in a field. The video stops moments later.

Cochrane was arrested on January 3 and admitted the video had been filmed on Christmas Day 2019 and confirmed it was him in the video. He did not disclose who else was in the video.

In November 2019, Cochrane had been given a suspended jail term of eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, alongside the criminal behaviour order. This came after he admitted being in possession of a wild animal, which he was prohibited from doing by a previous order, and hunting a wild animal with a wild dog – an offence under section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004.

When he was sentenced on Friday, March 6, for the catapult offence, the eight-week suspended term was activated and Cochrane was also sentenced to a further four weeks in prison for breaching the criminal behaviour order, resulting in a total sentence of 12 weeks in prison.

PC Claire Dinsdale, rural crime co-ordinator for Dorset Police, said: “Scott Cochrane showed a blatant disregard for court orders that were in place to protect wild animals as he had previously been sentenced for coursing offences.

“Coursing with dogs and poaching is a national priority for both rural and wildlife crime and there are many repeat victims across the UK.

“Dorset Police is part of the national strategy between 22 police forces, Operation Galileo, where civil and criminal powers will be used to prevent such offending by hare coursers and protect vulnerable victims.

“We will continue our efforts to protect wild animals and orders such as this enable us to take action against repeat offenders.

“As ever, we are reliant on members of our rural communities reporting information and we would encourage anyone with information about ongoing incidents, or intelligence that can help us target our resources, to contact us.”