FOUR men have been fined after they pleaded guilty to poaching in Stapleford near Codford on Christmas Eve.

Freddie Hughes, 24, of Lloyd Avenue, Marchwood, Albert Kempster, 25, of Greenfields Way, Weston-Super Mare, James Kempster, 33, and Albert Smith 53, both of Marchwood Road, Totton, appeared in Salisbury Magistrates Court on Friday (7/02).

At 12.15pm on December 24, police received a report of a suspicious vehicle and dogs on farm land in Stapleford.

Officers attended the area and four men were eventually located. The vehicle was seized along with the two dogs.

The four appeared in court on Friday and they were each fined £120, ordered to pay CPS costs of £85 and £32 each to victim services.

Sergeant Tom Ellerby said: "We aim to provide a prompt and robust service to the rural community, and always look out for any opportunity to disrupt as we did in this case." "On the day in question, officers flooded the area and caught these four people in the act.

"One officer located the dead hare that they had been seen to throw from the window, another officer seized their cars, and another seized their dogs, before the rest of the team arrested all four men.

"This was an intelligence-led operation and landowners and farmers played an essential role in making us aware that activity was taking place.

"I'd urge anyone who sees anything out of place in our rural communities to try and make note of any vehicle registration numbers and report concerns to us immediately."