A bid to crack down on poaching will begin in Devon today.
Project Trespass, which brings together police and wildlife crime groups, will hold a meeting in Lynton.
It aims to assure landowners and obtain their help tracking down poachers, especially in the light of the recent discovery of 11 stag heads at a layby near South Molton.
Police believe professional poachers were involved in the incident as the stags’ bodies had been removed and antlers cut off.
Project Trespass was launched last month.
It aims to provide a coordinated response to poaching by the England and Wales Poaching Priority Delivery Group, which includes the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) in its membership.
The organisation says tackling poaching is one of the UK’s wildlife crime priorities as it blights the countryside and affects farmers, landowners and others living and working there.
A total of 44% of all wildlife crime reports from across the UK provided to the NWCU relate to ‘poaching intelligence’ including the poaching of deer, fish and game and hare coursing.
Nevin Hunter head of the NWCU said: “Poaching is a criminal activity – all poachers are trespassers and analysis by the NWCU over the past two years shows that given an opportunity poachers have diversified into thefts, burglaries, assaults and other rural crimes.
“Many police forces are developing rural crime strategies where the tackling of all wildlife crime and particularly poaching is a priority. Project Trespass will help in the effort to coordinate intelligence and responses to reports of crime.”
For more information see www.nwcu.police.uk