On 10 October 2016, a silver Subaru Forester car was spotted around the Richmond area and was eventually seen by a witness in Patrick Brompton. The witness noticed men poaching with dogs on private land.
Soon after, police officers stopped four men who were all interviewed and reported for summons for daytime poaching offences.
On 3 February 2017, Liam Paul Barker, 22, from Spennymoor, John Thomas Fenwick, 22, from St Helen Auckland, Connor William Goodfellow, 21, from West Auckland, and Joshua Adam Lee, 19, from St Helen Auckland, all pleaded guilty to daytime poaching at Northallerton Magistrates Court.
Goodfellow was ordered to pay fines, a victim surcharge and costs totalling £155. Barker, Lee and Fenwick were each ordered to pay fines, a victim surcharge and costs totalling £198.
Wildlife crime officer PC Mark Wood, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “This was a good result and we are grateful that a witness came forward and reported this to the police.
“It shows that people do not like the idea of hares being destroyed by dogs in this way, and local farmers don’t appreciate people trespassing over their land to do it. We will continue to deal robustly with crimes of this nature, and I urge anyone to report incidents like this to the police.”
In December 2016, North Yorkshire Police launched the ‘Call it in’ campaign, asking residents to note down and report any suspicious activity, particularly in remote or isolated areas, to help ensure the area remains the safest place in the country.
Inspector Jon Grainge, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: “We’re proud of all the work we do to keep our area safe. However, we cannot be everywhere, so information and intelligence from local communities plays a key role in the fight against crime. That can come from our fantastic Watch scheme volunteers, or from our Community Messaging system, but also from simple calls from members of the public.
“Local residents are the best people to recognise when something is not quite right – and if that’s the case, we’d like to hear about it. Please report anything suspicious to the police using the 101 phone number. Even if it doesn’t need an immediate response, every piece of information helps us build up a picture and could prove vital in bringing criminals to justice.”