POLICE in Lancashire are asking residents and visitors to help hunt down deer and game poachers in the run-up to Christmas.

The number of incidents usually rises around this time of year as poachers look to fill their festive tables with stolen meat.

Officers have been carrying out high-visibility patrols, particularly around the border areas with Cumbria and Yorkshire, to reduce poaching and the crime that comes with it.

Poachers often commit criminal damage to rural properties, and can also be responsible for thefts from homes and farm buildings.

“During our latest joint operation six searches of people and vehicles were conducted, 12 traffic offences dealt with and four arrests for theft offences were made,” said PC Antony Marsh, community beat manager for Silverdale and Warton.

“This just highlights that other types of crime arise from poaching activity and we would urge the public to support us by contacting us whenever they see something suspicious.”

Poaching can be reported to police on 0845 125 35 45, or to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.