Scarborough councillors call for crackdown on illegal hunting as police report increasing fuel thefts across county

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North Yorkshire Police have said that criminals are travelling from across the country to steal fuel and petrol from rural areas of North Yorkshire including Scarborough.

A member of the North Yorkshire Police rural task force said that “dark nights” have contributed to an increase in commercial and business burglaries as well as thefts of machinery and fuel.

The update on rural policing was presented to councillors representing Scarborough and Whitby on North Yorkshire County Council, at a meeting on Friday, November 25.

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Councillors were told that due to the rising costs of living and petrol there had been an increase in thefts of fuel as well as vegetable oil, which can be used in certain types of vehicles.

Cooking oil thefts are on the increase across North YorkshireCooking oil thefts are on the increase across North Yorkshire
Cooking oil thefts are on the increase across North Yorkshire

Speaking at the meeting, an officer from the task force said the police had been targeting criminals in the area “quite aggressively” and “proactively”. He said this has included the use of pursuit vehicles and drones.

The task force has also been deploying “vehicles that are there to be targeted,” fitted with devices which allow officers to “track where these things are going and potentially lead us to an address that is heavily involved in the movement of vehicles.”

Officers will also be focusing on illegal fox hunting with councillors told that if an offence was identified, suspects would be charged.

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Cllr Rich Maw said that trail hunting, where hunters follow a scent along a predetermined route, has been “accused of being a smokescreen for actual fox hunting”.

Cllr Maw said: “I want to thank you for looking into trail hunting… [fox hunting] is a rural crime and I’m pleased you’re taking it seriously. I just wish it was taken as seriously by our Government.”

Meanwhile, Cllr David Chance said: “I come from a family where fox hunting is normal and I detest it. I would never support fox hunting.”

Cllr Chance, who represents the Danby & Mulgrave ward on NYCC, added that he was “greatly concerned” by reports of farms in his ward being “intimidated” by dogs from trail hunts.

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Earlier on in the meeting, the issue of trail hunting was raised with Sir Robert Goodwill, the member of parliament for Scarborough and Whitby who was attending the meeting.

The MP said he did not see a need to change current legislation on hunting.