The vigilance of North Yorkshire Police's Mobile Rural Watch volunteers ensured suspected poachers were unable to carry out their cruel and damaging activities in Ryedale.
At 2.30pm on Thursday 13 February 2020, a member of the public noticed a group of men and lurcher dogs in suspicious circumstances near Salton, north of Malton.
A few minutes later, Rural Watch volunteers in the area contacted police with an update that the suspects had travelled south towards Great Habton in a Honda CR-V.
A live check on the car revealed it was linked to a man suspected of poaching offences elsewhere.
Officers deployed to the area and quickly located the vehicle. At 3.30pm, four men inside were stopped and checked. Due to the circumstances, all four were issued with a dispersal order, requiring them to leave North Yorkshire.
Police escorted them to the county border – to ensure they had left for good.
A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said: “This incident goes to show that – even in the most remote, rural areas of North Yorkshire – suspected poachers will find it very difficult to move about unchallenged.”
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.
The force launched Operation Galileo last year as part of a nationwide clampdown on poaching. As part of the operation, officers are asking residents to note down and report suspicious activity, such as unusual vehicle movements, to help in the fight against rural crime.
Mobile Rural Watches operate across the North Yorkshire countryside, supporting the force’s Neighbourhood Policing Teams and Rural Taskforce. Volunteers use their own vehicles, and are equipped with police radios so they can communicate with officers. By drawing on the expert local knowledge of the volunteers, any suspicious activity or vehicles can be checked out in real time. To find out more about Rural Watch schemes elsewhere in North Yorkshire, contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team, or Rural Taskforce officer, by dialling 101.Last modified: February 14, 2020