Joint protocol between gardaí and National Parks and Wildlife Service on tackling wildlife crime

Illegal hunting can be used as a front by criminals to check property, equipment, and security according to a joint garda and department memo on wildlife crime.

The memo also says property damage and threats against landowners are all taking place during the illicit hunting of hares.

It said badger baiting and dog fighting can be associated with known criminals and attracted in “overseas criminals” who wanted to bet on the fights.

The memo said unlawful hunting with firearms at night was a problem throughout Ireland usually targeting wild deer populations.

And it said that there had been numerous instances of horses or cattle being accidentally shot, with bullets on occasion hitting houses and farm buildings.

The details are contained in a joint protocol signed between gardaí and the National Parks and Wildlife Service to tackle wildlife crime, and which has been released under access to environmental information regulations.