South Wales Police is working with the three other police forces in Wales and running an operation aimed at raising awareness of the problems of deer poaching and the potential health issues which can arise from buying illegally sourced meat.
PC Mark Goulding and Operation Harrier poster
Police constable Mark Goulding of South Wales Police, a wildlife and environmental crime with Natural Resources Wales, said:
“Deer lawfully culled by trained stalkers are examined by qualified people to prevent diseased or tainted meat entering the food chain for human consumption.
“Poachers don’t follow environmental health and hygiene laws. If the meat is not properly hung; toxins will build up. Tainted meat could cause public health issues.”
The EU Food Hygiene Regulation 2006 applies nationally to all foods including Wild venison and makes anyone who shoots wild deer and supplies it in-fur or as small quantities of wild game meat, responsible for food safety.
South Wales Police and its partners are raising public awareness that deer poaching is a criminal offence.
PC Goulding added:
“Poaching is a criminal activity. All poachers are trespassers and evidence has shown us that given an opportunity poachers will commit theft, burglary, assault and other rural crimes.
“The police in Wales are developing rural crime strategies where the tackling of all wildlife crime and particularly poaching is a priority. Operation Harrier will help in the effort to obtain intelligence and investigate these illegal activities.”
Anyone with any information about poaching should South Wales Police on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and quote Operation Harrier.