Wigan man banned from large swathes of Lancashire for hunting rabbits and hares with dogs

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

A Wigan dog owner has been given a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) after being sentenced for offences including animal poaching.

Daniel Ratchford (pictured), 36, of Wellfield Road, Wigan was handed the order last Friday (May 21st) which will last for five years and means he is excluded from entering vast areas around West Lancashire and Sefton. This includes all rural areas between Ormskirk and the Sefton coast, between Ormskirk and Crosby, Maghull, Kirkby and between Wigan and Lancashire around the Douglas Valley.

It also prevents him from being part of a group of two or more people who are in control of any dog anywhere in England and Wales, as well as prohibiting him from trespassing on any land and from acting in a manner that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

Ratchford was given the order after previously being found guilty of four poaching offences, hunting wild animals with dogs and five breaches of a Dog Disqualification Order.

In addition to the CBO, he was also handed a 32 week custodial sentence suspended for two years, a 16-week 7pm – 6am tagged curfew, 50 day Rehabilitation Order, lifetime prohibition from keeping dogs and all of his dogs were forfeited to police for rehoming.

An investigation into Ratchford began after police received information that he was committing poaching offences on private farmland, allowing his Lurcher-cross dogs to kill wild rabbits and hares.

As a result, Lancashire’s South Rural Task Force, along with Merseyside Police’s Wildlife Crime Unit and RSPCA Special Operations Unit, executed a warrant at Ratchford’s property in the early hours of the Thursday, March 11th.

Five dogs were found inside, in breach of his lifetime disqualification which he was given in 2014, after being convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog. For this offence, he was sentenced to twelve weeks imprisonment.

Speaking after the sentencing, PC Paddy Stewart, Rural, Wildlife & Heritage Crime Officer in Lancashire’s South Rural Task Force said: “Ratchford has shown absolutely no regard for animals’ rights to live peacefully in the wild. Instead, he allowed his dogs to cruelly maim and kill rabbits and hares.

“The fact is that offenders like Ratchford know that animals like hares don’t die instantly after one bite from a dog, they are agile are often are unsuccessfully grabbed several times, causing graphic injuries and distress. And that’s if they survive; the vast majority die suffering and screaming in agonising pain.

“This is a serious criminal offence, with often misunderstood and far-reaching impacts on our rural communities and I hope that this result shows those who commit these types of offences, whether that be against wildlife or farming, we have a dedicated team of officers and we will find you.”

PC Stewart added: “We need the rural communities of West Lancashire and Merseyside to help us enforce Ratchford’s CBO and report if they see him committing any breaches of the order, to please call us on 101.”

For more information on types of rural crime, along with some crime prevention advice, please visit lancashire.police.uk, then click on ‘Help & Advice’ and next ‘Protecting Rural Communities’.


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