RESIDENTS of rural Dorset have been asked to report "gunshots during the hours of darkness" after an increase in reports of poaching.

Police in Purbeck say deer, pheasant and game poaching is on the rise in the area. Officers with the area's neighbourhood policing team (NPT) have called for anyone with information to come forward.

"We would also like to hear from anyone who sees or hears anything suspicious, especially gunshots during the hours of darkness or possible trespassers on land," a spokesperson said.

"Landowners and those who have a responsibility within the rural industry can ask their local NPT for some preventative advice.

"In the past we have had some good images from wildlife and trial cameras."