Wildlife crime campaigner snares national accolade

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A MAN who has helped transform the fight against wildlife crime in the East Riding has won a national award.

Gordon Calvert, from Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime, was named annual partner of the year by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs yesterday. Mr Calvert, who was nominated by Humberside Police, helped resurrect the region’s faltering Farmwatch organisation in 2006, when the force had the third highest number of reported wildlife crime incidents in the country.

Hare coursing by day and deer being killed by dogs at night were among the most prevalent offences, but the success of the police-backed scheme means the region is no longer seen as a happy hunting ground for poachers.

Mr Calvert also runs a newly-formed Farmwatch in Driffield, which alone has 150 members.

Sgt Dave Jenkins, force deputy director for wildlife crime, said: “Gordon is a dedicated and committed leader for the Driffield Farmwatch group and frequently makes himself available on 24-hour call to any of the members to offer support and assistance in catching and preventing wildlife criminals.”

He added: “The results to date for the force and county are significant. In 2010/11, Humberside Police had the second highest prosecution rate in the country under the Hunting Act 2004. Reported incidents are now significantly fewer, public confidence in the rural community has been vastly improved and Humberside police are now recognised as one of the leading forces in the fight against wildlife crime.

“This type of change is only possible with the commitment of passionate and dedicated people in the rural community such as Gordon. Quite an achievement by anyone’s standards.”

Intelligence gathered by Farmwatch has also led to the seizure of £80,000 of suspect tobacco from a farm, and the recovery last October of two stolen trailers, two stolen 4x4 vehicles and a stolen quad bike.