After more than £60,000 worth of gamebirds were stolen from shoots across Norfolk last year, the local police force has launched “Operation Cockerel” in a bid to stop thieves from claiming even more birds this year. According to wildlife crime officer PC Jason Pegden, of Norfolk police, several different shoots were hit between July and September 2007 but, as yet, no-one has been charged: “Last year we experienced a large number of game thefts throughout the county.

The alarm was raised by concerned shoot organisers and landowners who said they had lost pheasant and partridge poults to thieves roaming the area equipped with Transit vans and crates to steal both gamebirds and feeding equipment.” He continued: “‘Operation Cockerel’ commits each police area to regular patrols in locations which have a shoot with the aim being to gather intelligence on suspicious vehicles seen in the area. This year we hope to gather even more information using intelligence technology and a ‘County Watch Ring-Round System’ much like

a home-watch system, which sends out messages to gamekeepers warning them of thefts as they are reported.”

The rest of this article appears in 20th March issue of Shooting Times.

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