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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Man prosecuted for illegal hunting in Upper Hunter national park

A man has been fined $4,300 and ordered to forfeit weapons and ammunition worth more than $15,000 after he was caught illegally hunting in Towarri National Park, 25km from Scone.

The individual was recently sentenced in Newcastle Local Court with offences including carrying and possessing firearms and illegal hunting.

The man also received two 24-36-month community correction orders for possessing an unregistered gun and a sound suppressor.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) area manager Anthony Signor said the successful prosecution was the result of a multi-agency investigation with officers from the Police Rural Crime Investigators, the Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

“NPWS and DPI used an extensive, joint electronic surveillance program, including installation and regular monitoring of a network of cameras across Towarri National Park, which identified the offender and enabled the NPWS, DPI and the NSW Police Rural Crime Investigators to pursue a prosecution,” he explained.

“We’re pleased with the outcome of this prosecution and hope that it sends a strong message to the community that illegal activities are not tolerated in our parks.”

Two separate instances of illegal activity resulted in court appearances and fines in the past six months, too.

A man was sentenced by the Taree Local Court and fined $1,500 after he was captured on camera carrying a firearm on a fire trail in Barrington Tops National Park, while another was fined and placed on a good behaviour bond for vandalising park property to access closed areas.

NPWS will continue regular surveillance and patrols of national parks in the region to targeting illegal hunting, vandalism and trail damage.

“It’s especially important that we stop damage to fire trails in wet weather,” Mr Signor said.

“Damage from unauthorised use can be very expensive to repair, and we need those trails to be available to help us manage risks of bushfires.”

To report illegal activities in national parks, contact Crime Stoppers NSW on 1800 333 000 or your local NPWS office.

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