A POACHER has been handed a suspended prison sentence for breaching a criminal behaviour order which banned him from large swathes of countryside in three counties.

Scott Matthew Cochrane, who has previously admitted hunting wild animals with dogs, was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months.

Rural and wildlife crime inspector Darren Stanton said: “Scott Cochrane is a repeat offender who continues to commit crimes even though he has been made the subject of a court order.

“I hope this case demonstrates that officers from the local neighbourhood policing team and our rural crime team will work together to take action against those who are found to breach these orders and bring them before the courts.”

Cochrane, aged 30, of Yarrow Close, Poole, admitted breaking the criminal behaviour order – and an offence of vehicle interference – at Poole Magistrates' Court.

During sentencing, on Wednesday (Oct 7), the court heard how at 7.30pm on Friday, August 14, this year, a wildlife camera that had been installed in a field on private land near Wimborne was activated.

The owner examined the footage and saw a man walking around the front of a horsebox trailer and using a metal pin to try and force the lock. The ramp at the rear was also pulled down, with the total value of damage caused to the trailer estimated at £500.

After the victim posted the footage on social media a member of the public identified Cochrane as the offender.

An officer also viewed the footage and was able to identify the defendant.

The area where the camera was located was one of those that Cochrane was banned from entering under the terms of a criminal behaviour order imposed in November 2019 for a period of three years.

The order prevented Cochrane from entering a number of rural areas of Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire as well as a number of other conditions.

In addition to the suspended sentence, Cochrane was also ordered to pay £500 in compensation to the owner of the horsebox.