29 Apr 2015

Police put heat on poachers

4:04 pm on 29 April 2015

Murchison police are turning to thermal imaging equipment to help clamp down on poachers.

The technology police will be using to catch poachers.

The technology police will be using to catch poachers. Photo: Supplied / Archetype Precision Systems Limited

The technology was offered to police following increased reports of poaching in the Tasman District.

Several sheep carcasses were found last month in a forest near Wai-iti and yesterday the carcasses of two cattle were found in the Dovedale area.

Poachers were targeting rural farms, killing stock and removing their identification tags so the police could not identify where they came from.

Nelson-based company Archetype Precision Systems will loan one specialist camera to police over the winter in the hope poachers will be caught.

Company director Anthony Corke said the technology could go a long way to help catch poachers in the act.

"The camera will enable the police to see a person or animal from up to three kilometres away."

He said the technology was used by hunters themselves and he would not be surprised if poachers were already using it themselves.

"Its hard because there are a few people selling the equipment, so we can't be certain it is only genuine people buying it.

"I hope the fact that the police even have the technology deters poachers."

Murchison Constable Mike McDougall said the extent of poaching was unknown and a problem that could be hard to monitor.

"We only know about incidents if they are reported to us, or if we find evidence of it ourselves."

Mr McDougall said farmers were seeing spotlights on their properties, raising concerns that it was only a matter of time before someone's home was shot at.

"Poachers are going out at two and three in the morning with spotlights thinking they are aren't being seen, but farmers are watching them."

He said the technology would enable police to monitor reports of poaching without being detected.

"At the moment if we are called out to reports of poaching, they can see us driving down back country roads from miles off."

Police will use the equipment over winter and then decide whether or not to purchase it.

Cattle killings investigated

Nelson police are investigating the discovery of two cattle carcasses on a forestry track in the Dovedale area over the weekend.

The carcasses were found on the north side of Jacob's ladder on the Thorpe-Orinoco road.

Sergeant Rob Crawford said the cattle had been shot and their identification tags removed.

"Whoever dumped the carcasses had removed the back legs and back steaks, they've taken the best bits of meat and dumped the rest."

He said there had been little doubt the animals had been poached.

"We are keen to hear from anyone with information about the incident, and anyone who may be able to identify the owner of the animals."

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