– poach­ing re­mains Buck­ing­hamshire

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

sev­eral young pheas­ants were stolen from the out­skirts of Che­sham.

A game­keeper used to be em­ployed to pro­tect the birds against poach­ers try­ing to steal them. Some game­keep­ers used to be poach­ers so knew all the tricks of the trade, hence the phrase ‘poacher turned game­keeper’.

The Cen­tre for Buck­ing­hamshire Stud­ies pro­vided us with the pa­pers of Ed­mund Waller, of Hall Barn, Bea­cons­field, which re­veal poach­ing cases brought be­fore him as a Jus­tice of the Peace.

Game­keeper James Cole­man, from Bea­cons­field, caught two poach­ers in 1788 in­clud­ing Joseph Jessep, a labourer from Bea­cons­field, who used a wire en­gine, com­monly used to de­stroy game, with in­tent to ‘kill and de­stroy the game of this king­dom’ when he was ‘not qual­i­fied by the laws of this realm to do so’.

Jack Lack from Bea­cons­field gave ev­i­dence to say he saw Jessep with the wire en­gine. Jessep was found guilty and or­dered to pay £5. He could not pay and so was im­pris­oned.

Mr Cole­man also caught labourer Henry Lack, from Bea­cons­field, with a hare in his pos­ses­sion, in March 1788. Lack ad­mit­ted the of­fence and was or­dered to pay £5.

Mr Waller also dealt with Ralph Par­rott, a labourer from Chal­font St Giles, who in April 1788 was caught with two hares by the afore­men­tioned Henry Lack. Par­rott was or­dered to pay £5 for each hare.

Thomas Green, a sawyer from Chal­font St Giles, was another poacher caught by Henry Lack us­ing three wire en­gines in The Birch­wood in Chal­font St Peter and was or­dered to pay £5.

Fi­nally, Thomas Smith, a shop­keeper from Den­ham, was caught with a hare in his pos­ses­sion by Richard Gib­bons from Hedger­ley. Mr Smith was sum­moned to

pheas­ants

ng; (be­low) a brace of Mr Waller’s Bea­cons­field home but the case was dis­missed for lack of ev­i­dence.

While poach­ing is usu­ally con­sid­ered an old fash­ioned crime, it is still go­ing on to­day.

After last week’s pheas­ant theft in Che­sham, po­lice took to Twit­ter to ap­peal for in­for­ma­tion, ask­ing if peo­ple have been of­fered any for sale.

In 2011, a stretch of the River Chess was

It’s worse

than it’s ever been at the mo­ment for hare cours­ing and

deer poach­ing”

sys­tem­at­i­cally poached of its fish, which re­sulted in the An­gling Trust re­cruit­ing vol­un­teers from an­gling clubs to work along­side of­fi­cers from the En­vi­ron­ment Agency to pro­vide in­tel­li­gence and check rod li­cences.

The trust also de­vel­oped a Poacher Watch web­site for an­glers to re­port poach­ing.

Farm­ers still have to deal with poach­ing to­day.

Chair­man of the Na­tional Farm­ers’ Union’s Berks, Bucks and Oxon branch, Ian Waller, who owns Ham­p­den Bot­tom Farm in Great Mis­senden, ex­plains: “It’s worse than it’s ever been at the mo­ment for hare cours­ing and deer poach­ing, but not so much pheas­ants any more.

“Hare cours­ing is to­tally il­le­gal and they use hunt­ing dogs, which is caus­ing us a lot of prob­lems, such as disturbing the live­stock.”

To tackle the prob­lem, farm­ers are forced to take ex­tra pre­cau­tions to se­cure their farms, such as pad­lock­ing gates.

“Things like that can some­times be quite in­con­ve­nient,” Mr Waller said.

“It means you have to stop the ve­hi­cle in the mid­dle of the road to open the gate rather than driv­ing straight into the field.

“This sort of crime mainly hap­pens at night and a lot of it doesn’t get re­ported be­cause you can’t al­ways get a good idea of what’s go­ing on when it’s dark.

“I think the po­lice are do­ing the best they can, cer­tainly over the last five years or so they’ve fo­cused more on ru­ral crime.”

Con­trib­uted

‘POACH­ING WAS RIFE’: Bucks county ar­chiv­ist Roger Bet­tridge

Con­trib­uted

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