Illegal poachers stopped in their tracks by eagle-eyed public

Illegal poachers in Swaffham Bulbeck

A member of the public saw Albert Eastwood (left) and Charles Lee acting suspiciously on fields near Swaffham Bulbeck before leaving the area. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Two poachers who led police officers on a pursuit after being spotted in East Cambridgeshire have been given a criminal behaviour order. 

A member of the public saw Albert Eastwood, 46 and Charles Lee, 36, acting suspiciously on fields near Swaffham Bulbeck on November 6, 2019. 

The pair were then seen leaving the area by Cambridgeshire Police’s Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT) in a Volvo S40. 

But officers soon caught up with the pair and Eastwood was found to have driven at double the speed limit through Bottisham. 

He stopped the car and was arrested. 

Albert Eastwood found in Swaffham Bulbeck

Albert Eastwood was found to have driven at double the speed limit through Bottisham. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Both Eastwood, of Redhill, Surrey and Lee, of Sevenoaks, Kent, pleaded guilty to daytime trespass in pursuit of game (poaching) at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court in March this year. 

The pair were handed a two-year criminal behaviour order (CBO) and ordered to pay £594 in fines and costs. 

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The order states:  

  • Not be on agricultural or farm land, or any yards or working areas associated with that land, or be in possession of a sight hound, within Cambridgeshire, without the express permission of the landowner.  
  • Permission to be on land stated within condition 1, must be obtained in writing from the landowner stating the date permission was granted; 
  • this must be obtained no more than seven days in advance from attendance on the land must be carried on your person when attending the land; 
  • it must be presented to a police officer or Police Community Safety Officer (PCSO) immediately on request. 
Charles Lee caught in Swaffham Bulbeck

Charles Lee was seen with Eastwood leaving the area by Cambridgeshire Police’s Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT) in a Volvo S40. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Eastwood was sentenced at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court on October 12 to six months in prison, suspended for 24 months, 250 hours unpaid work and 30 days rehabilitation activity requirement. 

He was also ordered to pay £2,500 in costs, disqualified from driving for 18 months and to complete an extended retest. 

Sergeant Craig Flavell, from the RCAT, said: “If they breach the CBO, they could be arrested and face a maximum sentence of five years in prison.  

“People can help us tackle hare coursing by looking out for groups of vehicles parked in rural areas, particularly by a gateway to farmland, on a grass verge or farm track.  

“These can include estate cars, four-wheel drives or vans with dogs inside or groups of people using binoculars to spot hares.” 

Anyone who sees illegal coursing, lamping or poaching should call 999. 

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