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Dorset man given Criminal Behaviour Order for committing rural crime

Lewis Longstaffe, 20 September 2018

Published at 2:38pm 21st September 2018.

A Dorset man sentenced for poaching offences and a farm burglary near Dorchester has been given a Criminal Behaviour Order.

The order was imposed when Lewis Longstaffe, aged 23 and of Sandy Lane, Upton, Poole, appeared at Weymouth Magistrates' Court yesterday.

He had previously admitted offences of trespassing on land at night and taking or destroying game and using a weapon to kill or take a wild bird as well as being found guilty of a burglary following a trial.

In the early hours of Friday 22 December 2017 three men were captured on a trail camera that had been set up outside a pheasant pen on an area of private land near Wareham.

They were seen using a hand lamp and catapult to take pheasants from the pen.

One of the men was identified as the defendant.

Between Saturday 29 April 2017 and Tuesday 2 May 2017 a burglary occurred at a farm building near Dorchester. A padlock was forced and various equipment valued at around £2,700 was taken.

A discarded screwdriver was found on the floor by the door and DNA analysis linked it to the defendant.

Longstaffe denied the offence and was found guilty following a trial on Wednesday 25 July 2018.

He admitted the poaching offences on the same date and was sentenced to a community order with a requirement to carry out 50 hours of unpaid work in the community, a rehabilitation activity requirement and was ordered to pay £750 compensation for the poaching and £350 for the burglary offence.

Longstafffe has now been made the subject of a Criminal Behaviour Order, which runs until 20 September 2023 and states he must not:

A    Be on any private land without prior written permission from the owner or legal representative of the land and to produce any such written permission when asked to do so by a police officer, unless it is land to which the public have access.

B    Be in possession of any dog while on private land whether the public have access or not.

C    Be in possession of a wild animal, wild bird or part of a wild animal or wild bird living or dead in Dorset.

D    Be in possession of a catapult in any place other than a dwelling in Dorset.

In July this year the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) launched a nationwide strategy on Wildlife Crime and Rural Affairs, which identifies the national priority areas.

One of these priorities is poaching, with senior police officers leading work in conjunction with expert partners to tackle the issue.

Police Constable Claire Dinsdale, of Dorset Police's Rural Crime Team, said: "On behalf of the rural community we very much welcome this result.

"Crimes such as poaching, criminal damage, burglary and theft are prevalent across Dorset farms.

"The cost of rural crime has risen to £44.5m nationally in 2017 and organised criminals target farms and other rural businesses, making life very hard for rural victims.
"Where farmers have tried to challenge trespassers, whether stealing or poaching, they are met with threats and abuse or worse.

"Rural crimes can often be harder to detect compared to urban crimes where CCTV and witness evidence assists a prosecution case.

"Rural communities are assisting the police greatly in their use of technology, such as trail cameras, to capture more evidence of this kind.

"For anyone doubting the impact of poaching on our rural victims, please visit the National Farmers Union website and watch their videos of farmers talking about such rural crime.

"We are part of the national group set up to tackle poaching and bring standardisation to how offenders are dealt with in the courts. This is made up of police, Crown Prosecution Service and organisations such as the NFU.
"For example as many poachers will use a vehicle in order to commit crime in the countryside, then we will apply to the court for a disqualification from driving and for the vehicle to be crushed.

"We will also make applications for Criminal Behaviour Orders to restrict the activities of rural criminals.

"We are fortunate to have specialist police wildlife crime officers to provide such early advice on a case and an excellent CPS Wildlife Crime Coordinator for our region who assesses the evidence. This really does improve outcomes.

"We would ask local residents to be aware of these particular conditions of the Criminal Behaviour Order and to encourage them to contact Dorset Police if they see any of these conditions being broken.

"Anyone that sees a suspected incident of rural crime, including poaching, should call 999 immediately, reporting as much information as possible such as vehicle registration, make and model if possible. Any non urgent reports can be made by online at www.dorset.police.uk, by emailing 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101.

"It is crucial everyone reports such offences so we get a clearer picture of where this is happening and when."

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