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Police seize suspected poachers’ car thanks to rural patrols in North York Moors

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Three suspected poachers faced a long walk home - and a man who was with them will appear in court - after North Yorkshire Police responded to suspicious activity in the North York Moors.

Rural patrols around Kildale, near Stokesley, located a vehicle and four men with dogs on land without permission, at about 1.15am today, 8 January 2020.

Although three suspects ran off, police stopped a man in his 30s. He was reported for summons for hunting offences. In addition, their car, a Toyota Avensis, was seized for being suspected of use in crime.

Rural patrols are a key element of North Yorkshire Police’s Operation Galileo – part of a nationwide clampdown on illegal poaching. Officers, PCSOs and Mobile Rural Watch volunteers will be in rural areas, on the lookout for suspicious vehicle movements and other signs of poaching activity.

Poaching refers to the illegal taking, killing, injuring or pursuit of game, deer or fish. North Yorkshire, and the Hambleton area in particular, has large areas of farmland, forestry and lakes, which tend to be vulnerable to poaching activity.

In addition to being a wildlife crime, illegal poaching on farmland can cause significant damage to young crops, resulting in large financial losses for farmers.

Furthermore, identified offenders often have previous involvement in other forms of cross-border crime, or are members of organised crime groups. Many offenders travel long distances to North Yorkshire to carry out poaching offences, and are frequently from other force areas.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said: “Poaching typically tends to increase in the winter months. However, anyone thinking of coming to any part of North Yorkshire to commit this offence should know that this behaviour will not be tolerated.

“Officers are working hand-in-hand with local communities, so we rely on residents to call in suspicious activity, and, as last night’s patrols have shown, those caught can expect to have their vehicle seized.”

Residents are encouraged to note down and report any suspicious activity, such as unusual vehicle movements, particularly in remote or isolated areas. Even if the information doesn’t need an immediate response, every piece of intelligence helps the police build up a picture and could prove vital in bringing criminals to justice. Call North Yorkshire Police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.

Last modified: January 8, 2020