What "crime" would someone be committing if they were caught ferretting for rabbits on land where they did not have permission?
The reason I ask is because this is because situation from last week-end has just sprung in to my mind.
I spotted 4 young lads (2 were teenagers and the other two were around 10 to 12 years old) about to start ferretting on one of my permissions. I spotted them from about 1/4 mile away whilst I was out having a bit of a walk about with the shotgun. They hadn't spotted me and were about to start laying a few purse nets so I immediately phoned the farmer to see if he had given them permission. He told me that there was no-one else except me had permission on his land and that I should (In his words) "See them off"!
I calmly approached them (After unloading my shotgun) and asked them what they were doing and if they had permission to be there. They said that they were after a few rabbits for the pot and that "a lad in the village" had told them it would ok to get a few rabbits from the land they were on. With this I explained that they ALWAYS needed permission FROM THE LANDOWNER wherever they wanted to work their ferrets and that the farmer who owned this land was not willing to allow them to do any ferretting there, and that it would be best if they turned back and left the land.
In fairnes they were quite polite and reasonable about it, they were not agressive in any way and they did not try to argue (They were not aware that I had unloaded and made my shotgun safe before approaching them and I did not "wave it about" in any way which could have bees seen as threatening) and when I had finished talking to them they quietly picked up their nets and turned and left.
I was not worried about the situation and I do not think will see them again around there but I was wondering exactly what someone ferretting for rabbits (Or running long dogs) without permission could be charged with if the landowner wanted to take things further? Would it be trespass (In pursuit of game), poaching, or what other crime would they be committing? I should add that none of them were carrying a weapon so it would not have been "Armed Trespass" and these lads did not have a dog with them!
What are your thoughts guys and how would you handle situation like this where "youngsters" do not even seem to realise that they are committing an offence?