A POACHER has had two of his dogs rehomed after he was caught trespassing in Whitchurch.

Last week, Morris Cole, 46, of Fallowfield, Yateley, pleaded guilty to entering land in Micheldever Road on November 5 last year, in pursuit of game, woodcock, snipes or conies.

As part of his punishment, Basingstoke magistrates ordered that two of his three dogs that were seized to be forfeited and rehomed across the UK with responsible owners.

It was the first prosecution in Hampshire where courts have ordered the forfeiture of dogs which have been used in poaching or hare-coursing activity.

Cole was also fined £165 plus court costs.

Two people from the Southampton area were also fined today for similar offences and had their seized dogs forfeited.

Chief Inspector Simon Dodds, strategic lead for rural policing, said: “These fines and forfeitures are an excellent result for these types of offences and provide a significant punishment and deterrent to these offenders.

“By taking robust action we can prevent further offences being committed and give a strong message to those who commit these offences. If we catch you, your dogs and vehicles will be forfeited.”

Dogs used in these offences are seized as evidence, but in the past offenders have considered themselves at low risk of sanction, police said.