TWO men and a teenager have each been slapped with $5000 fines for illegal hunting near Bellata.
Danny Thomas Hunt, 32, Robert Irwin, 19, and a 17-year-old who can’t be named for legal reasons were charged by police after an incident in July last year.
Police were called to the Bellata area about 11.15pm after reports from landowners about hunters trawling the area.
The trio was nabbed performing illegal hunting activities in a protected area and charged with four offences each, including hunt game animal on private land without a licence, having a controlled dog with hunting collar in park and carrying a knife in a park.
Each of the men fronted Narrabri Local Court and were convicted and fined $1500 for the first offence and $1100 for each subsequent charge, totalling $4800 each.
Magistrate Daphne Kok also ordered the men’s hunting equipment, including knives, a protective dog collar and plate and a spotlight, be forfeited as a further deterrence to the trio.
The fines dealt out were significant and, according to industry insiders, are some of the biggest seen in the region.
Barwon rural crime investigators have issued a warning to anyone carrying out illegal hunting across the region.
“Illegal hunting and associated rural crime will not be tolerated,” Detective Clinton Oxenbridge said.
“Offenders face harsh penalties, as well as risk jail time, should they insist on committing these offences.”
Police are urging residents to keep their eyes peeled for suspicious people or vehicles around properties.
“Although police encourage residents to provide us with as much information as possible, landowners should consider that trespassers may be armed and should not be approached – if trespassers are sighted, call police,” Detective Oxenbridge said.
He said warning signs should be put on perimeter fences and gates to ward off illegal hunters and could ultimately help in prosecuting those who stepped over the line.
Hunters are warned they must carry the right permits or face the consequences.
“Ignorance is no defence,” Detective Oxenbridge said.
“It is also important that legitimate hunters are familiar with the boundaries of the properties subject to their authority to hunt.”