The owner was alerted to the crime after hearing gunshots and then spotting Price loading something into the back of his van.
North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard police later found the 22-year-old with eight dead pheasants in his vehicle.
Prosecutor Sue Hayers said: “The injured party was at home at 9pm on January 14 when he heard what he thought sounded like silenced rifle shots. He saw a light shine in the trees and formed the opinion someone was outside.
“He saw a van parked up the road and saw someone throw something into the rear of the van. The person was holding a rifle. The vehicle pulled away.
“Police later located the van and the defendant. They recovered an air rifle, pellets and eight pheasants from the vehicle.”
When he was arrested, Price claimed he did not know the Whitmore land was private and said he intended to eat the birds.
The court heard the landowner, the Cavanagh-Mainwairing family, rears pheasants to be used in licensed shoots held on the estate, and the theft left them £320 out of pocket.
Price pleaded guilty to theft and a charge of trespassing at night with an air rifle to destroy game.
The offences put him in breach of a conditional discharge he received for another theft, when he was collecting scrap metal and took property that the owner had not agreed he could have.
Mohammed Fiaz, mitigating, said: “He has written a letter of apology for his behaviour. The reason Mr Price took the pheasants was for his own consumption. He wasn’t going to sell them on. He purchased the rifle legitimately.
“He was working as a labourer but unfortunately he lost that job a couple of weeks ago.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order with 80 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £320 to the victim. He must also pay a £120 fine for breaching the conditional discharge.
#TheList Scott Hayes, born 16/02/1989 of Blakewood Drive, Blaxton, Doncaster DN9 3GX and Christopher Darwin, born 15/10/1991 of Laycock Avenue, Gringley-on-the-Hill, Doncaster DN10 4SA – used lurcher dogs to hunt and kill a deer on Christmas Eve
Scott Hayes and Chris Darwin were found guilty of poaching offences.
The pair were spotted by police coming off private land with lurcher dogs in the village of Haxey, North Lincolnshire, on December 24, 2019. The body of a freshly killed male Roe deer was discovered nearby and further investigations revealed its injuries were consistent with it being killed by dogs.
Chief Inspector Paul Butler said, “This court result should send out a very clear message to those who commit wildlife offences that we take these offences seriously and will seek other sanctions available to the courts.
“The obtaining of [Criminal Behaviour Orders] in this case provides other police forces with a straight forward tool to deal with these men if they choose to commit wildlife offences with the use of the type of dog involved. I would like to thank the Wildlife Crime Officers involved in bringing this case before the court, the CPS Prosecutors involved and also the court for taking such offences seriously”.
Deer poaching is a problem in many areas across the UK. It can involve extreme cruelty to the deer targeted, especially when dogs are used to chase and drag them down. Many offenders operate across several counties, travelling long distances to target specific hdilocations.
The use of lurcher type dogs features in most poaching offences committed during both the day and night.
Chief Inspector Butler added: “Poaching activity is a blight on the countryside and many of those involved are linked to other offending. Members of rural communities often feel vulnerable and intimidated by poachers who can be aggressive or offer violence if challenged.
“If you witness suspected poaching offences taking place, particularly where lurcher type dogs are being used please report it to the police via 999.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order of 300 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £350 court costs; made subject to a three-year Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) preventing them from entering the Humberside Police area.
#TheList serial wildlife persecutor Scott Matthew Cochrane, born 09/11/1989, of 4 Yarrow Close, Poole BH12 4FL – found with dead rabbits, lurcher-type dogs and steel ball bearings
Repeat offender Cochrane was back in court after breaching a five-year criminal behaviour order imposed in September 2015 after a video of him pulling the head off a live wood pigeon was uploaded to Facebook. He admitted being in possession of a wild animal and for hunting a wild mammal with a dog, an offence under Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004.
Cochrane, whose Facebook account is riddled with boasts about his ‘kills’, is now prohibited from entering many rural areas in Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire. The areas include south of the A35 in the Purbeck and Dorchester area, rural northeast Dorset up to the M4 corridor in north Wiltshire and parts of the New Forest in Hampshire.
This will prevent him from using routes such as the A338 from Ringwood into Wiltshire, A354 from Puddletown to Salisbury and A350 from Wimborne to parts of Wiltshire, which all feature in hotspots for such rural crime.
At 11.41pm on Saturday October 5, 2019, officers were called to a rural location in the Blandford area in relation to suspected poaching in fields. They located a van and saw two men – one of whom was the defendant.
There were two lurcher-type dogs with them and they had a high powered lamp. They were also found to be carrying dead rabbits. A search of their vehicle located a catapult and steel ball bearings, as well as further dead rabbits.
The new criminal behaviour order will last for three years.
Cochrane must not:
• Act or incite others to behave in an anti-social manner, that is to say a manner that causes harassment, alarm or distress to any persons.
• Use or incite others to use threatening, intimidating, insulting or abusive words or behaviour in any place to which the public has access.
• Be in possession of a wild animal, wild bird or part of a wild animal or bird living or dead.
• Be in possession of a catapult or shot, such as ball bearings, or to be in a vehicle with a catapult or such shot in a place to which the public have access or private land as a trespasser.
• Allow a dog under his control off a lead, except on private land with the land owners written permission.
• Be in a vehicle with a dog traditionally used for the purpose of hare and deer coursing, such as a Lurcher, Greyhound, Saluki, or a cross breed of these varieties unless travelling to an emergency vets appointment.
• Own dogs traditionally used for the purposes of hare and deer coursing such as Lurchers, Greyhounds, Saluki or a cross breed of these varieties.
Police Constable Claire Dinsdale, Rural Crime Co-ordinator for Dorset Police, said: “Coursing with dogs and poaching is a national priority for both rural and wildlife crime and there are many repeat victims across the UK.
“This issue is not about ‘one for the pot’ but part of a network of persistent criminals who will threaten and intimidate our rural communities if challenged and cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to crops, gates and other property.
“They train their dogs on rabbits, hares and even on deer, with no regard for the welfare of wildlife or their dogs and they are willing to travel vast distances into other counties.
“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.
“I hope this sends a clear message that coursing and other such crimes are not tolerated and we will take robust action against anyone suspected of such an offence.
“This now varied order is a first of its kind for rural crime, in that it bans the defendant from large areas of rural land across three counties and it restricts his ownership of certain dog breeds and cross breeds.”
Sentencing: eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months. Victim surcharge of £122 and £85 costs. The other man was given a caution. Three-year criminal behaviour order.
Update 13/03/20: Dorset Police announced on their Facebook page that Cochrane has been jailed after breaching a criminal behaviour order that banned him from being in possession of a catapult.
He was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison on Friday 6 March 2020 after admitting breaching a criminal behaviour order and a suspended sentence order.
On Wednesday 25 December 2019 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 4×4 vehicle in a rural location.
The video showed Cochrane 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 and the video stops moments later.
Cochrane was arrested on Friday 3 January 2020 and admitted that 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.
When he was sentenced on Friday 6 March 2020 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.
Police Constable 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.
#TheList Liam Paul Barker, born c. 1994, from Spennymoor, John Thomas Fenwick, born c. 1994, from St Helen Auckland, Connor William Goodfellow, born c. 1995, from West Auckland, and Joshua Adam Lee, born c. 1997, from St Helen Auckland – convicted of poaching offences
Joshua Adam Lee, Conor William Goodfellow, John Tom Fenwick plus Liam Paul Barker were convicted of poaching offences and ordered to pay more than £700 in total, thanks to vigilance from a member of the public.
On October 10 2016, a silver Subaru Forester car was spotted around the Richmond area of North Yorkshire and was eventually seen by a witness in Patrick Brompton, near Leyburn. The witness noticed men poaching with dogs on private land.
Officers stopped four men who were all interviewed and reported for summons for daytime poaching offences.
On February 3, 2017, the four men all pleaded guilty to daytime poaching at Northallerton Magistrates Court.
Goodfellow was ordered to pay fines, a victim surcharge and costs of £155. Barker, Lee and Fenwick were each ordered to pay fines, a victim surcharge and costs of £198.
Wildlife crime officer PC Mark Wood, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “This was a good result and we are grateful that a witness came forward and reported this to the police.
“It shows that people do not like the idea of hares being destroyed by dogs in this way, and local farmers don’t appreciate people trespassing over their land to do it. We will continue to deal robustly with crimes of this nature, and I urge anyone to report incidents like this to the police.”