Poachers have been warned that police officers will be out in force following a seasonal increase in the reported number of the crimes.

West Yorkshire Police’s wildlife officers have told poachers they “will be waiting for them” after the rise in reported incidents as the end of harvest approaches.

The force said its four main priority areas, which will be targeted over the coming months, were deer poaching, hare coursing, badger baiting and fish poaching.

Police said there had been a reduction in the number of incidents recorded year-on-year and officers hoped to continue this trend with robust policing.

Enforcement officer Dave Pegg said: “We are actively looking for information on those involved in this type of crime.

“We will continue to concentrate our efforts on the key offenders and poachers will be stopped and dealt with.

“Whether you’re poaching for self gratification or for financial gain, we will be out there looking for you and we are working closely with the surrounding forces – a regional collaboration to combat poaching.”

Specialist methods and equipment will be used to track poachers and officers will use all appropriate laws to prosecute those involved.

Mr Pegg said: “There are offenders that come into Bradford and there are offenders that come from Bradford and this is a regional approach to poaching.

“So where those offenders find themselves having the need to travel to other areas to commit poaching, they should be under no illusion, that they will be dealt with in surrounding forces areas as they would be in West Yorkshire.”

The force’s wildlife officer PC Sally Smart said: “Poachers can be charged with many offences including criminal damage and theft and will face arrest and conviction and the seizure of any vehicles, equipment and dogs used in the crimes.

“Poachers can also face disqualification from driving if they are using their vehicles for crime.”

Anyone with information about poachers in their area can contact police on 0845 6060606, Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111, or 999 if a crime is in progress.

Alternatively e-mail xa.wlc@westyorkshire.pnn.police.uk.