DEER poachers are to be targeted in a police operation in Wealden.
And officers are also appealing for members of the public to be on the lookout for poachers.
PC Ted Anderson said, “Commercial poaching is a serious problem on various levels and is not a faceless crime.
“There is a real risk to public health as meat is introduced illegally into the system and as many of the deer are shot at night using high-powered weapons there is an obvious risk to public safety.
“There are also real concerns for the animals not being killed in a clinical and professional manner as many are killed with weapons not suitable for the size of the animal.
“Poaching is a secretive business, often carried out at night and in remote locations.
“I would encourage anyone to contact the police with any information that would help in catching illegal poachers, especially if they have been offered venison from sources other than bona fide dealers.”
Game dealers, restaurateurs and hoteliers are also being reminded to make all necessary checks before accepting such game.
If caught poachers can be prosecuted for offences under the Deer Act 1991 as well as for firearm offences.
Anyone who suspects illegal poaching has been happening in their area should call Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999 or anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.