Rural crime in county tops league

MEMBERS of a Scarborough conservation group have heard that North Yorkshire is top of the league for certain wildlife crimes.

PC Graham Bilton, North Yorkshire Police’s rural crime officer, told members of Scarborough Field Naturalists Society that wildlife crime was a significant problem for the rural county at a meeting earlier this month.

His talk was called Protecting Wildlife and the Environment and Ian Glaves, the group secretary, said: “North Yorkshire was top of the league for bird-of-prey shooting, but crimes against other animal and plant groups, such as badger baiting, hunting with dogs, bat roost destruction, poaching, habitat destruction and poison and pesticide abuse were still prevalent.

“Professional egg collectors were a particularly difficult group to detect and prosecute.”

He added that PC Bilton worked alongside organizations such as the RSPB, RSPCA and local wildlife groups to help tackle rural crime. He said: “A multi-agency approach was needed to detect wildlife crime, but reliance on the general public to report suspicious behaviour was essential.”

Mr Glavesd said that the wildlife role was voluntary, on top of his regular police duties, and he answered various questions from group members.