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Poaching warning after 70-year-old arrested over livestock deaths

Auckland, New Zealand - December 24, 2020: Close up of a New Zealand police officer's uniform and badge

Police will use their ballistics, DNA and genomic testing capabilities to deter rural thieves.
Photo: 123RF

A man has been charged with theft after thermal imaging equipment was used to kill livestock in Canterbury.

The equipment was used on a public road to fire at and kill livestock near Darfield, said Senior Constable Hamish Caird.

“The alleged offender was identified through testing the fired projectiles, which were extracted from the animals, for their unique markings.

“The markings were able to be linked to the potential weapon used,” Caird said.

The man, who is 70, has been charged with ill-treatment of animals, theft of livestock and the reckless discharge of a firearm. He will appear in court at a later date.

Unlawful hunting put other people in the area at risk and could have potentially fatal consequences, Caird said.

It could also have serious repercussions for poachers, with the penalty being a maximum of a $100,000 fine, plus up to two years in prison.

Poaching could also be a catalyst for other crimes, such as damaging machinery and the theft of fuel.

Caird also reminded rural property owners to make security a priority.

“We urge people to keep in contact with your neighbours and let one another know if you see anything unusual. A lot of reported thefts are committed by opportunistic criminals.”

Police took these crimes seriously and could use their ballistics, DNA and genomic testing capabilities to detect crime in rural communities.

Anyone seeing anything suspicious should report it immediately on 111.

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