Two men have been sentenced after being caught using dogs to hunt deer and hare in Morley, Derbyshire.

Derbyshire’s rural crime team said Raphael Stone and Dominic Parker were spotted illegally hunting deer in fields around Park Farm and Morley Church with two dogs off leads on April 9.

Police officers attended and Parker was found inside a car parked nearby while Stone attempted to run away but was stopped shortly after.

Both were arrested and subsequently charged with hunting a wild mammal with dogs and trespass with intent to search for or to pursue hares with dogs.

Parker was also charged with possession of a knife after two lock knives were found in the car, which was registered to Parker.

27-year-old Stone, of Hartcliffe Close, Derby, and 24-year-old Parker, of Michigan Close, Derby, admitted the charges when they appeared at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court last week.

Stone was given a community order and ordered to complete 40 hours unpaid work. He must also pay £500 costs and a victim surcharge of £114.

Parker was given a 17-week suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 80 hours unpaid work.

He must also pay costs of £585 and a victim surcharge of £154. An order was also made for the forfeiture and destruction of the knives.

Illegal hunting

Sgt Chris Wilkinson, from the Derbyshire rural crime team, said: “Illegal hunting and wildlife crime can have a really serious effect on farmers and landowners, leaving them not only feeling intimidated by someone trespassing on their land but often financially affected too.

“Derbyshire has diverse wildlife to be proud of and these crimes are cruel on both the animals hunted and the dogs used by the offenders.

“The impact of these crimes on rural communities should not be underestimated so it is vital that people coming to our rural areas and carrying out these crimes are brought to justice.”

Wilkinson said the rural crime team is “really grateful” to the members of the public who reported this incident to it, allowing the team to respond immediately and capture the offenders.

“Derbyshire is a beautiful county and a fantastic place to live, work and visit and we want to keep it that way so would encourage anyone who sees anything suspicious to please report it to us,” he said.