Visits have been made to check that meat being sold by butchers, restaurants and game dealers across Lancashire does not include poached venison.
Over 80 premises which stock the product have received letters explaining the regulations surrounding the sale of the meat, which are designed to ensure the venison is safe for human consumption and that animals are not subjected to unnecessary suffering during the hunting period.
Lancashire Police’s wildlife officer Mark Thomas is now visiting the identified premises along with staff from the Food Standards Agency to check that larders do not contain any poached meat.
Mark Thomas said: “Premises should be able to provide a clear paper trail to show where they have sourced their venison from and the idea of these checks is to prevent poachers from offloading their illegally gained meat via the back doors of shops and restaurants.
“If the venison has been obtained illegally then there is a chance that the deer suffered horrific injuries at the hands of a poacher before it was killed. Poachers do not care about killing an animal humanely and they do not care about the standard of meat they are selling on – which means that there is also a danger to the consumer who ends up eating it.”
He added: “Where poached meat is found to have been bought by vendors hoping to take advantage of the cheaper price of illegal meat we will be seeking to bring a prosecution against them.”