Police vow on wildlife crimes to councillor

POLICE have moved to reassure a councillor that all wildlife crimes are treated seriously.

In an open letter, Ryedale District Cllr Tommy Woodward praised the police for their efforts in last month’s successful prosecution at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court of a group of men involved in a badger baiting case at Howsham.

Five men were convicted last month of causing the “horrific and barbaric” deaths of two badgers in an organised bait and are due to be sentenced in Scarborough on Tuesday.

But Cllr Woodward questioned whether the force were equally committed in their approach to any breaches of the law surrounding the ban on the hunting of wild animals with dogs.

In response, Inspector Tim Hutchinson, commander of Ryedale Police, said: “I am pleased that Cllr Woodward recognises the hard work and professionalism that the police, RSPCA and the witnesses displayed in bringing this case to a successful conclusion.

“I know that Cllr Woodward has been passionate about the issues of fox hunting for many years and can reassure him that the North Yorkshire Police approach to fox hunting is to protect those involved in lawful hunting and those involved in lawful protest equally.

“We also regularly deploy evidence gathering teams to video incidents so that anyone who breaks the law, from either side, can be prosecuted.”