Five men with five dogs and night vision goggles have been found not guilty of poaching in Wiltshire - but three others with dogs have been arrested.

Police are encouraging people to report poaching as the case against the five men did not have enough evidence to prove that they were poaching - despite their dogs and goggles.

On Wednesday (October 20) a 4-wheel drive vehicle that was suspected of having been used for night poaching was seized by Wiltshire Police Rural Crime Team.

Yesterday three men were arrested yesterday for a separate offence of criminal damage and driving on a road without insurance, in the offences of S34 driving otherwise than on a road and the daytime poaching under the Game Law Act.

The three men had been seen pushing or ramming open a metal farm gate and driving across farmland damaging newly planted crops.

These convenes Section 34 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

The 4x4 was also seen to be following a ‘long dog’ pursuing what was believed to be game.

A 'long dog' is any dog of sighthound type, usually a cross-breed between two sighthounds of different breeds, one of which is usually a greyhound.

They excel at running down hares.

PC Simmonds of the Rural Crime Team said: “With the help of colleagues from the firearms and road policing units the vehicle was stopped on the A4361 near to Broad Hinton.

“Three male occupants were arrested at the scene and have since been released under investigation.

"They had three ‘long dogs’ in the vehicle with them.

“On this occasion there are a number of witnesses and body worn video available for evidence.

"We are not always that fortunate,” commented Rural Crime Team Sergeant Fergusson.

"Only earlier in the month we had five men equipped with night vision goggles, with five dogs in their vehicle - more than 45 miles from their homes - who failed to stop for police when told to do so.

“They were stopped later that night, in the south of the county, arrested, interviewed and the file supported by CPS for entering land as a trespasser at night with poaching equipment.

“However, all five were found not guilty, although one was convicted of failing to stop and fined.

"The reason was that we could not prove beyond all reasonable doubt that they had been poaching.

“It is important that we have, as has happened in this latest arrest, good quality visually recorded evidence, eye-witness testimony of animals being pursued or if we find there is quarry in the vehicle.

"We do not advise people to approach suspected poachers, but video evidence taken from a safe distance can be helpful.

"Do not put yourself or others at risk.”

Police are encouraging people to report crimes to help protect the countryside and its animals.

If you know something that could help, please report it online of call 101. In an emergency always call 999.