KWAZULU-NATAL – Three men aged between 47 and 32 were arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning after Hawks members received a tip off of illegal hunting in one of the farms in Ixopo the previous day.

The Port Shepstone Serious Organised Crime Investigation were alerted about a suspicious vehicle that was driving on the private land on Saturday evening which was suspected to be involved in illegal hunting within the farming area.

The team initiated an operation with the assistance of the Port Shepstone Tactical Response Team and the local K9 unit and proceeded to the farms in search of the suspected vehicle. In the course of the surveillance they managed to spot a white bakkie driving slowly with its spotlights on.

The vehicle was intercepted and upon searching it the members recovered a dead bush buck, a .22 rifle with 24 live rounds and a 9mm pistol.

It was established during the questioning of the suspects that one of them is a police officer from the VIP Protection unit in Pietermaritzburg, the other is an official from the Msunduzi Municipality whilst the third is a local mechanic. The 9mm pistol was also confirmed to be state issued.

The three have been charged with illegal hunting, possession of unlicensed firearm and contravening the Disaster Management Act. The suspects are expected to appear in the Ixopo Magistrate’s Court today.