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What to do if you suspect poaching

What to do if you suspect poaching

While poaching is a crime, thousands of cases go unreported, largely because few believe the police would take it seriously, despite potential fines of several thousand pounds.

The amount of under-reporting of poaching and other rural crime means that it is important that anyone living in, working in or simply visiting the countryside reports all incidents.

  • If you see or are aware of poachers on your, or anyone else’s land, call the police.
  • If you are being threatened or damage is being caused, or if you believe there is a danger to the public, then it is urgent and 999 should be used.
    Otherwise, use the 101 non-emergency number to report incidents.
  • Give the call taker as much information as you have, such as vehicles used, how many offenders, do they have firearms, etc.
  • Give the best description of the location as you can, especially at night.
  • The most important thing is to get an incident or log number for what you are reporting.
  • You may be told that there is nobody to send immediately, but insist on the incident/log number.
  • Ask for the incident to be forwarded to the Wildlife Crime Officer and the local beat officer. It is a good idea to do this whether police attend or not.
  • Tell the call taker that this is a wildlife crime and needs to be recorded as such. This makes it easier to monitor the number of poaching offences and, hence, the true picture will emerge.

To report a rural crime contact your neighbourhood policing team or specialist wildlife crime police officer. For more information visit

You can also contact Crimestoppers to report a crime anonymously and they will pass the information on to the police. Visit or call 0800 555111.

The British Deer Society campaigns against poaching and rural crime. More information can be found on our Campaigns page.

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