POLICE officers are planning to join forces with landowners and gamekeepers in a campaign to crack down on poaching in Test Valley.

Last year there were 22 reported incidents of poaching in the area.

But since March this year there have been 18 already.

A spokesman for the police said: "That may be a result of encouraging more people to report poachers, or it may be that there are actually more people out there actively poaching."

Either way it was a big enough problem to attract nearly 80 interested people to a Country Watch seminar held in the Grovesnor Hotel, Stockbridge.

"The aim was to establish what was happening, where we are going wrong and how we can make it right in the future," said the spokesman.

The police will be working in partnership with various rural groups and they want more people to report poachers.

"The point of the exercise is to get interested parties together so that we can work with each other to reduce the number of poaching incidents."

A practical example of that is a plan to team up with other partners for joint patrols in areas that have been identified as hot spots.

Police also have their 4x4 off-road vehicles and all-terrain mountain bikes to reach remotes part of the countryside.