Poachers convicted of illegally killing deer


Two men have today been found guilty after a trial at Hereford Magistrates’ Court of illegally killing deer on a private estate in Ross-on-Wye.

Michael Thomas, 48, from Bargoed, Mid Glamorgan and David Corbett, 35, from Penybryn, Mid Glamorgan were found guilty of trespassing on land with a firearm and without consent of the owner to take, kill or injure a deer. They were each sentenced to a total of four months, suspended for two years.

On 1 December 2013, the defendants were observed in a Land Rover Freelander shining powerful lamps into the woods in Wye Valley Farm Park, Courtfield Estate in Ross-on-Wye, which is a private estate. When approached by the gamekeeper, they claimed that they were lost and looking for a friend's farm.

No offence was committed that day, but a few weeks later on 17 December 2013, the same vehicle and occupants were spotted again on the estate and this time the police were called who detained the defendants.

When officers looked inside the vehicle they found the carcases of two Muntjac deers and one of a fallow deer. All had been shot. Also recovered were two rifles, which were fitted with silencers, ammunition and other hunting equipment.

Thomas and Corbett were both arrested and later charged.

Colin Molloy, Head of the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Magistrates' Court Unit, said:

"The trial proved that Michael Thomas and David Corbett were fully aware that their actions were unlawful and that they were trespassing on private property, yet even after they were spotted the first time, they returned back to the estate in order to illegally hunt their prey.

"Deer poaching in modern times continues to be an offence unless the landowner gives permission to take of kill deer. Sadly, those committing such frequently leave a legacy of injured animals and damage to property.

"Both Thomas and Corbett were sentenced to a total of four months imprisonment, suspended for two years. Their rifles, ammunitions and hunting equipment has been ordered to be fortified, but importantly, their rifle and shotgun licenses have been revoked. Each defendant has been ordered to pay £1,500 towards the cost of the two day trial.

"We hope that this prosecution sends out a clear message that those who are caught carrying out such illegal actives will be robustly prosecuted."