Significant fines for illegal spotlighting crimes

Five men have received more than $8000 worth of fines, have had a firearm and spotlights forfeited and have received convictions for a number of hunting-related offences and a driving offence in the Alpine area of Victoria.

Game Management Authority (GMA) Director of Compliance and Intelligence Paul Stevens said Officers from the GMA and Victoria Police intercepted the men during a targeted operation following ongoing complaints about illegal activity in the Rose River area near Whitfield.

“At approximately 1am on June 18 last year, Officers from both the GMA and Victoria Police intercepted a group of men traveling in a vehicle in recognised deer habitat along Whitfield-Myrtleford Road, and discovered two high-powered spotlights in their vehicle” Mr Stevens said.

“A search of the surrounding area located a third spotlight, as well as a high-powered rifle which was registered to one of the men in the vehicle.”

Mr Stevens said the five men from Melbourne’s western suburbs and Mount Cottrell appeared in Wangaratta Magistrates’ Court last month, were all found guilty for possession of a spotlight and firearm in recognised deer habitat and were fined a combined total of $6300.

“Two of the men were also found guilty of further charges. One for failing to ensure the firearm was carried in a secure manner which resulted in the forfeiture of the firearm. The other had his vehicle impounded for a month, had his driver’s licence cancelled and disqualified for six months and received an additional $2000 fine for failing to stop when directed by Police.”

Mr Stevens said the GMA and Victoria Police will continue with a cooperative approach to identify, intercept and prosecute people hunting in an illegal and dangerous manner.

“Illegal hunting and irresponsible behaviour can be dangerous and can put people and wildlife at risk,” Mr Stevens said.

“It is the responsibility of hunters to ensure they know the laws and are not illegally in possession of spotlights and firearms in recognised deer habitat during prohibited times.”

“Those hunters who choose to act illegally and dangerously will be prosecuted and may be fined, have their equipment confiscated and lose their Game and Firearms Licenses."

For more information on how to comply with spotlighting laws, please see this fact sheet: https://bit.ly/2rlQxr3

Hunters and the public are urged to report any illegal hunting to the GMA through its website www.gma.vic.gov.au or the Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or by contacting Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or Victoria Police.

Media contact: Nick Foster 03 8392 2237 | M: 0417 293 365