A repeat rural crime offender has been jailed after breaching a criminal behaviour order that banned him from being in possession of a catapult.

Scott Matthew Cochrane, aged 30 and of Yarrow Close in Poole, was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison at Poole Magistrates’ Court on Friday 6 March 2020 after admitting breaching a criminal behaviour order and a suspended sentence order.

Cochrane was made the subject of a three-year criminal behaviour order on Tuesday 19 November 2019 after admitting being in possession of a wild animal, which he was prohibited from doing by a previous order, and hunting a wild animal with a wild dog – an offence under section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004.

The latest order prevented Cochrane from entering a number of rural areas of Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire and also included a number of other conditions, one of which stipulated that he must not to be in possession of a catapult.

On Wednesday 25 December 2019 Dorset Police was made aware of a live stream video that had been uploaded to social media that showed Cochrane sat in the passenger seat of a 4×4 vehicle in a rural location.

The video showed Cochrane pull out a catapult and pretend to fire it at the person who was filming. The occupants then stop the vehicle when they notice something in a field and the video stops moments later.

Cochrane was arrested on Friday 3 January 2020 and admitted that the video had been filmed on Christmas Day 2019 and confirmed it was him in the video. He did not disclose who else was in the video.

In November 2019 Cochrane had been given a suspended jail term of eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.

When he was sentenced on Friday 6 March 2020 the eight-week suspended term was activated and Cochrane was also sentenced to a further four weeks in prison for breaching the criminal behaviour order, resulting in a total sentence of 12 weeks in prison.

Police Constable Claire Dinsdale, Rural Crime Co-ordinator for Dorset Police, said: “Scott Cochrane showed a blatant disregard for court orders that were in place to protect wild animals as he had previously been sentenced for coursing offences.

“Coursing with dogs and poaching is a national priority for both rural and wildlife crime and there are many repeat victims across the UK.

“Dorset Police is part of the national strategy between 22 police forces, Operation Galileo, where civil and criminal powers will be used to prevent such offending by hare coursers and protect vulnerable victims.

“We will continue our efforts to protect wild animals and orders such as this enable us to take action against repeat offenders.

“As ever, we are reliant on members of our rural communities reporting information and we would encourage anyone with information about ongoing incidents, or intelligence that can help us target our resources, to contact us.”

If a crime is in progress, call 999. Anyone with other information can contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email [email protected] or call 101. For more information on wildlife crime, including hare and deer coursing and poaching, visit the National Wildlife Crime Unit’s website at www.nwcu.police.uk.

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