First of new criminal behaviour orders is handed out in North Yorkshire to a "prolific" poacher

A “prolific” offender has become the first in North Yorkshire to be given a Criminal Behaviour Order for Poaching offences.

Ryan Thomas Spence, from Redcar and Cleveland, was given the CBO for poaching offences, after being found guilty of Hunting Wild Mammals with dogs at a previous court hearing.

In another case, listed at Scarborough Magistrates Court last Thursday (September 9), Spence was also handed a six-month driving ban and more than £1000 worth of fines.

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The season for hare-coursing and poaching is underway and police and courts are using new powers to target offenders and poachers.The season for hare-coursing and poaching is underway and police and courts are using new powers to target offenders and poachers.
The season for hare-coursing and poaching is underway and police and courts are using new powers to target offenders and poachers.

Spence, 32, attended private farmland with three dogs in Normanby, near Kirkbymoorside in Ryedale, shortly before 9am on February 15 this year.

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The court had heard that witnesses saw one of the dogs chasing a hare on the land and called the police, who attended the location and arrested Spence a short time later. Officers also seized the dogs.

North Yorkshire Police said that Spence is a prolific national offender, having previously been convicted of a number of poaching offences in North Yorkshire, East Yorkshire, Norfolk and Scotland.

The Criminal Behaviour Order served to Spence prevents him from:

Trespassing on any land with a dog, Firearm, or any item capable of firing a projectile Straying from any highway, Bridleway, or public right of way onto any land Driving, or be in, a motor vehicle or mechanically propelled vehicle other than on a publicly maintained road without written permission of the landowner Being part of a group involved in the hunting of any wild mammals with dogs or firearms or any items capable of firing a projectile

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Following last week’s hearing, Insp Clive Turner from the Rural Task Force said: “Ryan Spence has caused significant harm to our rural communities over a number of years, and I’m pleased he has now faced the courts and we have been successful in having the Criminal Behaviour Order granted.

“Poaching is a serious offence, it damages local businesses, economies and communities.

“I encourage anyone who sees any suspicious activity in our rural areas to report it to the police. Even if you are not sure whether or not crime is being committed, your information might just be the missing piece of the jigsaw we need to bring offenders like Spence to justice.”

Last week Country Post reported that increasing incidents of poaching were being made to police as the season starts. The combination of crops being harvested and rain making the ground softer had created ideal conditions for poachers seeking deer and hares with dogs.

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One affected gamekeeper, in the Harrogate district, said it wasn’t the first time he had been targeted and fears that it will get worse as harvesting and weather conditions change. He said: “If we get the rain, I think we are going to be tortured I genuinely do.”

In 2016, North Yorkshire Police set up a Rural Task Force with a team of police officers and police community support officers dedicated to tackling crime in the countryside which ranges from agricultural vehicle thefts, to heritage crimes and incidents involving wildlife and livestock.

Last month new and tougher punishments were introduced for hare-coursing crime and it is hoped other measures will act as a deterrent.

To report poaching dial 101, press 1 and pass information to a control room. If you see a crime being committed, dial 999.”