Page last updated at 14:58 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Dead deer seized in poacher probe

Deer - pic BBC
Chief Inspector Graham Dodds said it was important to reassure rural communities

Police in County Fermanagh are examining the bodies of two dead deer as part of an inquiry into alleged poaching.

The seizures were made in the Irvinestown area following reports that two female red deer had been shot.

Chief Inspector Graham Dodds said the period in the run-up to Christmas was the worst time for deer poaching.

"Poachers target deer indiscriminately and have no respect for females with dependant or suckling young," he said.

"While hundreds of deer are lawfully and professionally culled by trained deer stalkers each year, many more are cruelly killed by poachers looking to sell the meat on the black market."

Mr Dodds said it was important to reassure rural communities that police were tackling such problems.

"As well as taking animals, poachers are often responsible for thefts from farms and rural areas, so it is not just the local wildlife that is affected by them but also rural residents," he said.

"There are also the associated problems of threats to farmers and gamekeepers, along with damage to property and crops."

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