Poachers putting people at risk, police warn

03:07, Feb 11 2013

Central Otago police are concerned about poachers, who are endangering the lives of landowners and legitimate shooters trying to work.

Detective Sergeant Liz Williams said a landowner had to take cover in a ditch, while he was working, after a person shot at rabbits in his paddock and an employed night shooter was "lit up" by a poacher.

"It's hard to imagine how one would feel with a light in their eyes knowing someone holding a gun was at the other end of it," Mrs Williams said.

"Each landowner or pest controller should be safe in the knowledge that they can work in their paddocks through the night and their lives are not put at risk by some moron brandishing a firearm."

On February 5, three fallow deer were shot at a roadside paddock in Galloway, near Alexandra.

Shots had been heard at 10.30pm and the next morning evidence of three gutted deer was found.

"Whoever commits these acts is not only guilty of being a common little thief, but they are endangering the lives of the landowners," Mrs Williams said.

People spoken to about wandering on private land also thought they were not doing anything wrong and were often known community members.

Another emerging issue was large-scale stock theft with two separate thefts with an estimated loss of $100,000 to the farmers.

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