FIVE Burnley men have been arrested on suspicion of burglary as part of a countywide crackdown on rural crime.
The men, who are aged between 20 and 35, were arrested in the early hours of yesterday morning after a vigilant resident reported suspicious behaviour in the Wheatley Lane Road area of Fence.
Further inquiries yesterday afternoon led officers to discover a deer carcass hanging in the back garden at an address in Barden Lane, Burnley.
The deer has now been removed from the house. A 35-year-old man arrested on suspicion of burglary will also be questioned in relation to the deer.
The action comes as part of the week-long Operation Firecrest, which is aimed at tackling rural crime. Officers have been carrying out extra patrols in remote areas by targeting suspected offenders, making visits to farms and rural businesses to offer crime prevention advice and hosting community meetings as well as providing a police presence at auction marts and other key locations.
Det. Insp. Stuart Dixon said: “It was due to the vigilance and quick thinking of the local resident that we were able to take action. We rely on rural residents to be our eyes and ears and I urge the public to support us by contacting the police whenever they see something suspicious.
“Rural crime is not just about taking animals – poachers are often involved in other crime such as thefts from farms and rural areas, so it is not just the local wildlife that is affected but also rural residents.
“We take a tough stance on all rural crime and continue to work closely with agencies such as the National Wildlife Crime Unit as well as both land owners and farmers to crackdown on the issue.”
All five men have been released on police bail until December 21st.
Anyone with information about rural crime can contact police on 0845 1 25 35 45 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111