POACH­ING RE­MAINS A BIG PROB­LEM

Some may have thought poach­ing was a thing of the past, but the theft of pheas­ants from Che­sham last week sug­gests it is still an is­sue to­day. CAMILLA GOOD­MAN takes a look at its his­tory in Bucks and sees what is be­ing done to tackle the is­sue to­day

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POACH­ING – the il­le­gal hunt­ing, killing or cap­tur­ing of an­i­mals such as hares, deer or game birds – is tra­di­tion­ally seen as an old fash­ioned crime.

It was common in Bucks, es­pe­cially dur­ing the 18th cen­tury, as stated by the Buck­ing­hamshire Quar­ter Ses­sions records for 1705 to 1712.

The Cen­tre for Buck­ing­hamshire Stud­ies holds an orig­i­nal copy and pro­vided this pa­per with an ex­tract, which says: “Poach­ing – as ev­ery­where in Eng­land – was rife in Bucks and when of­fend­ers were caught it must have been nec­es­sary to deal with them promptly.”

Roger Bet­tridge from the Cen­tre for Buck­ing­hamshire Stud­ies ex­plains: “Poach­ing was rife in the 18th cen­tury.

“There were lots of peo­ple who would take game for one rea­son or another. There’s al­ways been game laws, but they were tight­ened up as a re­sult in the early 18th cen­tury. I don’t know if Buck­ing­hamshire was worse for poach­ing than any­where else, but I sup­pose it could be the case that hav­ing lots of coun­try­side meant there were more things to poach.”

I don’t know if Buck­ing­hamshire

was worse for poach­ing than any­where else, but it could be the case that hav­ing lots of coun­try­side meant there were more things to poach”

Another link with poach­ing in Bucks is the well-known chil­dren’s book, Danny, the Cham­pion of the World, by Great Mis­senden au­thor Roald Dahl.

The book is be­lieved to be set in Phasels Wood, near Che­sham, and fo­cuses on Danny and his fa­ther, Wil­liam, who live in a gypsy car­a­van fix­ing cars by day and poach­ing pheas­ants at night.

Last week Thames Val­ley Po­lice re­ported

Con­trib­uted

PROB­LEMS: Ian Waller of Ham­p­den Bot­tom Farm, Great Mis­senden

Con­trib­uted

TAR­GET: Pheas­ants

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