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Stuck 4×4 seized near York as poaching clampdown continues

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A vehicle has been seized by police after vigilant members of the public reported suspected poachers near York.

At 6.30am on Tuesday 22 October 2019, North Yorkshire Police received a report of suspicious activity on Sheriff Hutton Road, Strensall, involving men with vehicles.

Officers attended, and searched three vehicles, two of which were stuck in mud.

One of the vehicles, a Land Rover Discovery, was untaxed, and was therefore seized under police powers.

Seizing vehicles is a key way of disrupting suspected poachers, who may use vehicles that are untaxed or uninsured.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said: “Local residents who suspected poaching did exactly the right thing by contacting us, so officers could attend the incident and deal with it robustly. Illegal poachers will find it extremely difficult to enter and leave North Yorkshire unchallenged.”

Poaching refers to the illegal taking, killing, injuring or pursuit of game, deer or fish. North Yorkshire has large, isolated 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.

Earlier this year, North Yorkshire Police launched Operation Galileo – part of a nationwide clampdown on poaching offences. At the time, Inspector Jon Grainge, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: “All too often, offenders involved in poaching are also involved in other aspects of criminality, and landowners who suffer from this activity are often victims of other offences. Landowners often report threats of violence or intimidation being made by offenders if they are challenged, leaving them feeling especially vulnerable to further crimes, such as theft or criminal damage.

“A key aspect of Operation Galileo is that we work so closely alongside other forces who are also affected by poachers. We know offenders are prepared to travel long distances, and may commit offences in different force areas, so this joined-up approach makes absolute sense, and enhances the policing service we deliver to our rural communities.

“We know that poaching offences tend to increase in the autumn. However, anyone thinking of coming to North Yorkshire to commit such offences should know that this behaviour will simply not be tolerated. Officers are working hand-in-hand with local communities. We rely on residents to call in suspicious activity, and we will take such reports extremely seriously.”

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 bring criminals to justice. Call North Yorkshire Police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.

North Yorkshire Police’s Operation Galileo features on BBC Look North tonight, Wednesday 23 October 2019.

Last modified: October 23, 2019