POACHERS have been convicted as part of a blitz on rural crime in Hampshire.

It followed a lengthy investigation by Hampshire Police Countrywatch officers into suspicious vehicles and incidents in Upton Grey and South Warnborough in July and August last year following reports by members of the rural community.

One of the four men brought to justice was Edward Goddard, 18, of Winchester Street, Botley.

At Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court he pleaded guilty to night poaching and was ordered to pay costs of £305. The equipment used in the incident was forfeited.

Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner Judy Venables said: “This continues to send out a strong message to those who might consider committing such crimes in Hampshire or the Isle of Wight, that they will be pursued and prosecuted.”

Anyone with information about crime in rural communities can call 101 or the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.