Devon and Cornwall Police are working with the Deer Initiative (DI) and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) to reduce deer poaching after the severed heads of 11 deer were found in a layby.

Project Trespass, launched by the National Wildlife Crime Unit, aims to provide a co-ordinated approach to poaching, working with responsible organisations such as the DI and BASC. Poaching is recognised as being one of the current UK conservation priorities.

A police spokesman said that they are aware of increasing incidents of deer poaching and "the recent discovery of 11 severed stag heads in the South Molton area has raised concerns that the level of deer poaching is growing".

Community meetings in Devon have been arranged to raise awareness of the problem and will include guest speakers representing both the Deer Initiative and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation.

The meetings will take place at Lynton Hall on Thursday 7 November and at Shirwell Village Hall on Friday 22 November.

Sergeant Dave Knight, from the Force Wildlife Crime Group, said: “Poaching, including deer poaching, is a criminal offence. Enforcement is a key part of Project Trespass but we rely heavily on information from the public in order to target unlawful poaching activity and offenders. Any suspected incidents of deer poaching should be reported immediately.”

Anyone with any information regarding poaching can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, or via