Animal poacher banned from rural areas of borough

Animal poacher banned from rural areas of borough

by Henry James (May 2021)

A DOG owner has been given a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) after being sentenced for offences including animal poaching and is now excluded from entering vast areas around West Lancashire and Sefton.

Daniel Ratchford, 36, of Wellfield Road, Wigan is now excluded for five years from all rural areas between Ormskirk and the Sefton coast, between Ormskirk and Crosby, Maghull, Kirkby and between Wigan and Lancashire around the Douglas Valley.

It also prevents him from being part of a group of two or more people who are in control of any dog anywhere in England, as well as prohibiting him from trespassing on any land and from acting in a manner likely to cause harassment or distress.

Ratchford was given the order after previously being found guilty of four poaching offences, hunting wild animals with dogs and five breaches of a Dog Disqualification Order.

In addition to the CBO, he was also handed a 32 week custodial sentence suspended for two years, a 16-week 7pm-6am tagged curfew, Rehabilitation Order, lifetime prohibition from keeping dogs and all of his dogs were forfeited to police for rehoming.

An investigation into Ratchford began after police received information that he was committing poaching offences on private farmland, allowing his Lurcher-cross dogs to kill wild rabbits and hares.

As a result, Lancashire’s South Rural Task Force, along with Merseyside Police’s Wildlife Crime Unit and RSPCA Special Operations Unit, executed a warrant at Ratchford’s property in the early hours of Thursday, March 11.

Five dogs were found inside, in breach of his lifetime disqualification which he was given in 2014.

Speaking after the sentencing, PC Paddy Stewart, Rural Crime Officer in Lancashire’s South Rural Task Force said: “Ratchford allowed his dogs to cruelly maim and kill rabbits and hares.

“Offenders like Ratchford know that animals like hares don’t die instantly after one bite from a dog, they are often unsuccessfully grabbed several times, causing graphic injuries and distress

“And that’s if they survive; the vast majority die suffering and screaming in agonising pain.

Police are calling on the rural communities enforce Ratchford’s CBO. If people see him committing any breaches of the order, they should call police on 101.

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