We are very fortunate to have a specialist wildlife crime officer based at Holsworthy Police Station as part of the response team. He is PC 7357 Lee Skinner who has recently transferred from Hampshire Police where he was part of a small specialist unit dealing exclusively with wildlife and rural crimes, which include the poaching of deer, pheasants and hare as well as dealing with farm and agricultural security and he now wishes to use his specialist knowledge and training across North Devon.
Despite the ‘Wildlife’ title PC Skinner also deals with Farms, Fisheries, Livestock, Plant Machinery, CITIES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora – which also covers such things as ivory, rhino horn, tortoise and other protected species), Environmental Crime, Habitat Destruction etc.
In his recent meetings with land owners, farmers and game keepers he has been told about incidents which have happened across our area but these have never been reported to the Police. Even if you think something is perhaps trivial, he needs to be told in order to build up a picture of what is taking place. Unfortunately the Police cannot always advertise the work which they are doing or the intelligence which is being developed which means that tiny pieces of intelligence which the public are able to provide may be the final piece of a larger puzzle which can ultimately help to tackle and resolve a specific problem.
Some of the incidents which PC Skinner would like to know about are:-
Hunting and Shooting offences, Fishing offences
Poaching of Deer, Hare, Pheasants etc.
Crime/incidents involving farm animals, Dogs worrying livestock, Heritage crime, Crimes on protected land and habitats including Bats, Badgers, Endangered species, Plants and trees.
Suspicious vehicles and persons together with minor damage such as padlocks being removed/broken.
If in doubt, please report it rather than ignoring it.
If something is urgent or ongoing please call 999 and then pass on the information to PC Skinner afterwards. The reason for this is that PC Skinner is obviously not always on duty. If reporting something by 999 or 101 please ask the call taker to email PC Skinner with the crime reference number or STORM number so that he will be made aware of the matter and can follow it up, if need be.
If you are told by the call taker that they are not able to attend at the time of the incident please ask them to record the details, including your contact details, and ask that the information be passed on to PC Skinner.
PC Skinner is very happy to visit your land/farm to offer security advice.
North Devon Wildlife/Rural Crime Officer
PC 7357 Lee Skinner
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Please also see our pages on Farm Watch and Horse Watch where there are direct links to enable you to join these schemes or click on the button below to join the Police ALERT scheme: