Three people in Coffs Harbour have been charged over alleged trespassing and illegal hunting in the New England region, after an investigation by Rural Crime police.
On Saturday 2 February 2019, two men in camouflage clothing allegedly trespassed on a private property in the Murrurundi area, near a group of deer. One of the men was carrying a hunting bow.
When confronted the men left the area, and police were alerted.
On Saturday 2 March 2019, three privately owned large red stag deer were killed inside a secure deer enclosure on a rural property near Bingara.
Police believed the animals were killed for the purpose of taking their heads and antlers as trophies.
As a result of inquiries, about 10am on Wednesday 27 March, New England Rural Crime Investigators, assisted by police from the Coffs Clarence Police District, executed search warrants at two homes in Coffs Harbour, seizing electronic storage devices, firearms, clothing and deer heads and antlers.
A 29 year old was spoken to at the home and subsequently issued a Court Attendance Notice for the offences of kill cattle (deer) with intent to steal, fire firearm into building or onto inclosed lands, enter private land to hunt animal without owner consent, and not notify changed address where firearm is stored.
Following further inquiries, about 4:40pm on Wednesday, investigators stopped a Ford Ranger on the Pacific Highway near Coffs Harbour. The occupants, two men aged 63 and 35, were spoken to.
During a search of the vehicle police located and seized firearms, ammunition, mobile phones, drums containing diesel, camouflage clothing, keys for heavy machinery, as well as a game hunting and firearms licence.
The two men were issued Court Attendance Notices for the offences of kill cattle (deer) with intent to steal, and enter private land to hunt animal without consent of owner.
The older man was also charged with goods in custody suspected of being stolen, hunt game animal without licence and a second count of enter private land to hunt animal without owner consent.
All three are expected to appear before Bingara Local Court on Wednesday 22 May 2019.
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.