Police in Dorset have stepped their fight against poaching up to the next level, using drones with spotlights.

As part of the national operation targeting poaching, Operation Galileo, officers are carrying out enhanced patrols across rural parts of the county.

On Sunday (December 6), police from the Dorset Police Rural Crime Team, Drones Team and neighbourhood officers joined forces to conduct patrols in all sections of Dorset’s rural areas.

A spokesperson said: We can cover large rural areas by using technology such as thermal imaging and drones to identify any suspicious activity in large areas.

READ NEXT: 'We're better at hide and seek than them': Police track down suspected poachers

"Likewise, we use both marked and unmarked police cars to patrol these areas, which allows us to be seen when we want too but be discreet when we don’t. We also have 4x4 vehicles to make sure we get to those more remote spots.

"Poaching is not just a serious issue for our wildlife, but also has a devastating impact on our farming community. Farmers are being threatened and finding gates and crops damaged, costing significant amounts of money every time.

"Officers also conducted regular proactive stops on vehicles with potential to carry stolen farm machinery and livestock in a bid to deter and detect rural crime. Please remember if you are transporting livestock to have all relevant paperwork with you as we will be checking to make sure the livestock has not been stolen."