Poacher told to prepare for jail

17:00, Aug 12 2014

A 26-year-old farmhand can expect a prison sentence after admitting illegal pig hunting in Naseby Forest.

Carl John Arnoldus Watters, farmhand, of Oturehua, appeared in the Alexandra District Court yesterday jointly charged with Kelly Dawn Lee, 27, and Katie-Ann Sargeant, 25, for pig hunting on the Ernslaw One property without authority.

Watters also admitted trespass, possessing ammunition - 16 .44 calibre rounds - and taking a vehicle.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Ian Collin said Watters had been caught up in a police operation on June 26, 2012, that was launched on the back of an increase in the illegal hunting and to minimise the risk to legitimate hunters.

As a result, Watters was trespassed from several forests in Otago and Southland, including Naseby Forest, he said.

On May 25, police and the forestry manager stopped the trio who were travelling in a Jeep with five dogs. The vehicle was searched and ammunition was found, and two cars were seized, he said. None of the party had a firearms licence, he said.

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The following day, Watters, using a second key, took one of the vehicles from forest headquarters. On May 28, he took the vehicle to the Alexandra police station.

Judge Kevin Phillips said Watters had "an extended history relating to trespass, firearms and hunting" and told him to prepare for a custodial sentence. He was remanded on bail to September 4 for sentencing.

Lee and Sargeant were handed down 100 hours' community work each.

The judge said the crime was "serious" and had the potential for tragedy because forestry workers were transporting logs on the same day and were unaware the trio were in the same block of land hunting.

The Southland Times