TWO suspected poachers were tracked down by police after reports that a deer had been captured and killed in the Northumberland countryside.

Rural cops responded to a call in the early hours of Saturday morning after a report that the animal that had been killed and abandoned nearby.

They searched the area and found a teenager nearby who was detained. His friend had also reportedly been in the area and motor patrols traced the vehicle travelling to Ponteland.

Police Dog Ulrich was also deployed and after catching the suspects' scent was able to track and recover clothing and equipment believed to have been used by them.

Both teenagers were detained by police but as it could not be proved that they had killed the deer, they were taken home and offered words of advice in front of their parents.

Following further inquiries, officers also located a second vehicle, not connected to the teens, which was stopped after the driver was acting in a suspicious manner.

That vehicle was searched which resulted in the seizure of more equipment believed to be being used for other poaching offences. The driver was spoken to and escorted out of the area.

Rural Crime Team officer PC Alex Partington, one of the leading officers on the investigation, has promised rural communities that patrols targeting poachers will continue.

PC Partington said: “We were out this weekend to support our rural communities in a crackdown on poaching in the countryside.

“Often we need to find poachers in the act to be able to bring forward criminal charges but what we can do is seize their equipment and force them out of the area.

“The response at the weekend was fantastic as they acted on local intelligence to hunt down two teenagers we believed to have been poaching on Saturday morning.

“They may not face any criminal charges but we have seized a huge amount of equipment and they won’t be returning to the countryside any time soon.

“This is only one recent example of ongoing efforts to tackle, disrupt and prevent rural crime across our Force area.

“This positive police action will continue and will only strengthen our stance against anyone found to be committing or contributing to these types of crimes in the communities we serve.”

Anyone with any concerns about poaching or rural crime should contact police via 101.