DAVID FROST says: This is an issue of commonsense as much as of law, but the situation is one that is faced by quite a lot of shoots, including my own.
It’s sheer folly to antagonise neighbours in these circumstances. The farmer is being a fool and if he won’t listen to what villagers say then one of the guns or a neighbouring shoot owner should have a word with him.
From the way your question is phrased it seems the farmer may only be a tenant in which case it would be worth talking to the person from whom he rents the shooting rights. Peer pressure is the best way to proceed because if it doesn’t work there isn’t much effective recourse in law.
From a legal point of view you commit trespass if you fire shotgun pellets and they land on somebody else’s land. However, trespass is a civil matter and the likelihood of being able to bring a successful and cost effective case to court is small.
Any game that falls on the neighbour’s land belongs to the neighbour, not to the person who reared or shot it, or from whose land it flew. If the beaters go, or send a dog, to retrieve the game they are trespassing in pursuit of game, otherwise known as poaching. This is a criminal matter and if sufficient evidence can be gathered a prosecution could result.
If nothing else works you might have to go down this route. The police are unlikely to look sympathetically on applications for shotgun certificates from people who have been found guilty of poaching and that fact might deter the farmer and his beaters.
Got a question? Contact: email@example.com or Sporting Gun, PO Box 157, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9 9FU