Police target rural and wildlife crime in North Yorkshire

Inspector Jon Grainge
Inspector Jon Grainge
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A police force is to launch a major police operation to target rural and wildlife crime in North Yorkshire as part of a national campaign.

The action is part of the national Wildlife and Rural Crime Week and will involve officers and volunteers, and it will focus on the key issues that affect rural areas.

Throughout the week, officers from North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce will work alongside the force’s Neighbourhood Policing Teams, and other specialist resources.

They will also be joined by volunteers from Mobile Rural Watch schemes, and staff from partnership agencies.

The week-long campaign, co-ordinated by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, from October 6-13, and follows the success of a ‘rural crime day of action’ in 2018.

The week got underway with a police operation spanning the north of England on Sunday, when hundreds of officers and volunteers targeted criminals crossing into the county.

The forces involved in Checkpoint share intelligence and information and patrol across force boundaries to target criminals, “disrupting” their use of the road network in rural areas and prosecuting offenders.

Police tactics included the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to locate suspicious vehicles.

Throughout the week, officers will be patrolling and conducting proactive operations in rural North Yorkshire, including:

* Operation Galileo – An operation to disrupt illegal poaching, such as hare coursing. There is typically an increase in poaching offences in October, after crops have been harvested, and fields are left empty.

* Operation Dusk – An operation in Selby, targeting criminals who travel into rural areas from neighbouring regions.

* Operation Harvester – where volunteers use their own vehicles, and are equipped with police radios to communicate with officers and alerting them to suspicious activity.

In addition, police will be working alongside Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Angling Trust.

Inspector Jon Grainge, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: “The NPCC’s Wildlife and Rural Crime Week of Action is a good opportunity to highlight the impact of rural crime on our communities, and the action that we are taking to tackle it.”

Meanwhile North Yorkshire Police marked National Badger Day on Sunday, with the publication of a newsletter and social media activity to raise awareness of badger persecution.

Inspector Kevin Kelly, from North Yorkshire Police, is chairman of the Badger Persecution Priority Delivery Group, part of the UK’s National Wildlife Crime Unit.