Police crackdown on deer poaching in Forest of Dean

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Police in the Forest of Dean are attempting to crack down on organised gangs visiting the area to poach deer.

The Deer Initiative said poaching is being carried out on a "semi industrial scale" due to the rise in the price of venison, and a carcass can fetch up to £200 on the black market.

One local farmer said the problem has "reached dangerous levels".

Gloucestershire Police said the issue is "high on its priority list" and it is working with the public to stop it.

Sgt Simon Clemett said: "We are listening to what the rural community say and we are acting on it.

"We have recognised that organised crime groups are coming down and taking our animals and we need to work with the public to stop them."

Lydney farmer Alastair Fraser said he knows of "at least 50 poachers working in the area who can each take out a dozen deer in a night".

Gloucestershire Police said officers are using their powers of stop and search in the area, but also rely on the public to notify them if they see anything suspicious.

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