Three men convicted of poaching in Sadberge near Darlington

Anthony Foster, Edward Foster and Scott Revell were arrested last year after a police officer noticed they were releasing Saluki and Lurcher dogs to hunt rabbits on private farmland.

The trio pleaded guilty when they appeared in Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (May 16).

Foster, 31, from East Howle, Ferryhill, has been fined £200; Foster, 30, of Japonica Way, Norton, Stockton, was fined £120 and Revell, 35, of Somerset Road, Stockton, was fined £150. All three were also ordered to pay court costs and a victim’s allowance.

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Rural Police Officer PCSO Andy Cusick was on patrol around Bishopton Lane in Sadberge, near Darlington, on October 2 last year when he noticed two suspicious vehicles parked on Hillhouse Lane.

The officer conducted a search of the nearby area and saw the trio walking several dogs across private farmland.

Using special camera equipment, he filmed the men looking through a thermal imaging monocular before unleashing their dogs to chase a rabbit that had slipped out of cover.

The three men were charged with poaching and were questioned by officers, who initially denied the crime and claimed they were just walking the dogs.

There were no public footpaths through the fields and the landowner had not given the men permission to dwell on the land.

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Sergeant Karl Lowe of the Darlington Neighborhood Police Team said: “Not only is this type of crime cruel to wildlife, it also has a profound impact on rural communities, causing damage to crops and farmland that can be extremely costly for the farmer or landowner to clean up .” .

“PCSO Cusick’s persistence and his use of special camera equipment to capture the suspects in the act provided irrefutable evidence for a conviction in court.

“I hope this is a warning to others who think illegal wildlife poaching is acceptable that we will catch and prosecute you.” Three men convicted of poaching in Sadberge near Darlington

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