Poachers banned from Lincolnshire

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SIX poachers caught trespassing with lurchers on land at Holbeach St Johns have been given anti-social behaviour orders banning them from coming to Lincolnshire for two years.

The men – from Surrey and Hampshire – were on Lambert Bank in a 4x4 and a VW Golf when police caught them in the act on December 27.

Fred Ball (33), Thomas Ball (20), Frederick Bowers (53), James Bowers (21), James Gregory (42) and John Haynes (28) were convicted in absence when they failed to attend Spalding Magistrates’ Court on Thursday morning.

Sentence was adjourned but the court heard later there had been a mix-up over the time the men were due to appear and all six were handed ASBOs and ordered to pay £65 fines and £60s in costs when they appeared that afternoon.

Rebecca Ritson, prosecuting, had earlier asked Spalding magistrates to consider a destruction order for the vehicles, which have been impounded since the offence, as well as driving bans.

But solicitor David Eager told magistrates they had a general power to disqualify offenders from driving for many offences, including shoplifting, and there were no special grounds to do so under the Game Act.

He said: “Historically, the reason that this application to disqualify people came about was that there was within the police force a thought that this offence is only committed by those in the traveller community and it was a cynical piece of social engineering to disqualify travellers from driving.”

Miss Ritson said when one police officer arrived at Lambert Bank, the men climbed into one of the cars and started to drive off down a track – but another officer came in from another direction and cut them off.

There were seven lurcher-type dogs and when officers asked why two had blood in their mouths, the men replied “because they had been fighting”.

Magistrate Susan Painter warned the men: “If you are found in Lincolnshire without very good reason then you could be sent to prison.”