Five arrested after farmer catches suspected poachers in North Yorkshire fields

Police have arrested five men after a disturbance in North Yorkshire fields where a 4x4 was driven at the farmer's own vehicle.

Damage caused to fields in North Yorkshire after a suspected poaching incident

Considerable damage was caused to the fields near Selby, included a newly-planted rape field and 15ft of hedge, after it was trespassed by suspected poachers on Saturday.

A farmer reported the disturbance at 2.15pm after calling North Yorkshire Police to report men with dogs and a 4x4 driving over his fields, near to Drax.

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At one point, the 4x4 was driven directly at the farmer's own vehicle, forcing him to flee the scene.

Damage caused to fields in North Yorkshire after a suspected poaching incident

The force deployed officers and a police helicopter, with the 4x4 driving off but being later spotted on the A1(M) southbound in South Yorkshire.

Five men aged between 27 and 49, who are all from the Gloucestershire, Somerset and Bristol areas, were arrested on suspicion of affray and criminal damage.

All have been released under investigation.

The 4x4, a Jeep Grand Cherokee which was untaxed, was seized with four dogs inside taken to kennels.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Driving over farmland can cause major damage to crops, resulting in significant financial losses for farmers. This is often linked to illegal poaching. Any such reports will be treated extremely seriously.

“As part of a police operation called Galileo, we work with forces nationally to ensure poaching is tackled in a co-ordinated way, by sharing information and working across force boundaries.

“Many offenders travel long distances to North Yorkshire to carry out poaching offences, and are frequently from other force areas.”