Night out in Ryedale led to day in court and a Covid ticket for suspected poacher

A night out in Ryedale for a suspected poacher led to a stay in police custody, a day in court - and a Covid-19 ticket.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Tuesday, 24th November 2020, 9:46 am

A North Yorkshire Police officer was on routine patrol near Great Edstone, in Ryedale, just before 1am on Sunday when he spotted lamps flashing across fields.

The officer found a parked car with a man sitting inside.

Nearby was another man, carrying a lamp, a dead hare, and with a lurcher dog on a lead.

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A night out in Ryedale for a suspected poacher led to a stay in police custody - and a day in court.

The man with the dog - a 31-year-old from Guisborough - was arrested and charged with hunting a wild mammal with dogs and possessing a lock knife.

He is due to appear in court next month.

In the meantime, his bail conditions prevent him from entering North Yorkshire.

Both men were issued with Covid-19 fixed penalty notices for travelling out of their area.

Earlier this year, North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Task Force launched a campaign urging members of the public to report any suspicious activity in rural areas that could be linked to poaching, such as unusual vehicle movements or lights in darkness.

Residents are asked to call North Yorkshire Police on 101 if it isn’t urgent – or 999 in an emergency or if a crime is in progress.

This includes if poaching is taking place – it is a crime, and should be reported as such.

Under Operation Figaro, North Yorkshire Police is robustly and proactively targeting poachers to put a stop to their illegal activity.

The work runs alongside Operation Galileo - a national campaign bringing together forces particularly affected by poaching.

Insp Matt Hagen, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Task Force, said officers understood the terrible impact of poaching on rural communities.

"Poachers often have no regard for farmers and landowners, causing thousands of pounds of damage to crops," he said.

"Victims are often intimidated or even threatened with violence if they challenge offenders, leaving them feeling vulnerable to further crimes, particularly in isolated areas.”

On average, police are called to more than 50 incidents of suspected poaching in North Yorkshire every month.

Incidents tend to increase significantly from August onwards, during and after harvest time.

Anyone caught poaching can be summoned to court, while those stopped in suspicious circumstances can be issued with a community protection warning or a community protection notice, breaches of which can be prosecuted.

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