An operation supported by officers from Kent Police’s Rural Task Force resulted in the arrests of three suspected motorcycle thieves.

Cannabis

Whilst carrying out spot checks for waste carrier licences on vehicles queuing at a scrap metal dealers in Sittingbourne, the team noticed the smell of cannabis coming from a van and carried out a search under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Inside they found a number plate belonging to a motorcycle that had been reported stolen.

Both occupants, a 26-year-old man from Herne Bay and an 18-year-old man from Faversham, were arrested on suspicion of theft and handling stolen goods. Following further enquiries a third man, aged 55 from Faversham, was also arrested on suspicion of theft.

All have since been released from custody pending further enquiries.

Poaching

The three men were among a total of eight people arrested in May by Rural Task Force officers, who also investigated 23 reports of poaching, nine reports of livestock worrying and 38 wildlife incidents. Eight vehicles and one horse were also seized by the team.

Hare coursing

Last month also saw the first person to be fined for beaching a Community Protection Notice (CPN) served as part of Operation Galileo, a joint initiative to tackle hare coursing across the East of England that also involves six other police forces.

Sydney Samuels, 33, from Maidstone, was issued with a CPN in November 2021 after officers searched his car under the Poaching Prevention Act and found dogs and dead rabbits inside. He breached the order when he was caught poaching again in January, and on 19 May was fined £400 and given a three-year Criminal Behaviour Order that could result in a custodial sentence if Samuels continues to break the law.

Poachers

Sergeant Darren Walshaw of the Rural Task Force said: ‘Last month was again a busy one for investigating wildlife offences, which have a big impact on landowners and other residents in rural areas as well as the animals themselves. I hope the positive action we continue to take sends a message to poachers and other offenders that their crimes will not be tolerated by Kent Police.

‘In May we also continued to support our colleagues from other teams across the force, for example by working alongside the Road Safety Unit to help keep our roads safe.

‘We look forward to working closely with our rural communities again in June to tackle the issues that affect them the most.’

By Ed

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