We became aware that the killing of livestock (Sheep) was taking place regularly in and around the Eston Hills area
Injuring of Livestock – by cross bow bolts, or hit by vehicles resulting in death and amputation of limbs (resulting in animals having to be put down) was occurring. The local community / farmers were concerned as it seemed to be increasing sharply.
4X4’s & Quads were involved with the above and dogs. Poachers on the land were also taking down livestock
Criminal Damage was being caused to numerous fencing and gates in the area
Operations and general patrols were set up to tackle the problem with a large number of units being involved over a period of time.
This resulted in an approx. reduction of 80% in reported incidents
Identifying the problem
Criminals from Grangetown / Southbank & Guisborough were using vehicles and following on foot to kill livestock / deer and damaging fencing / gates to gain access to livestock belonging to the landowner.
Pheasants also being taken regularly.
The damage to fencing / gates was happening most evenings in the locality but with only some of these being reported to Police
We had approx. 90 reported incidents in a 12 month period, but this was only the tip of the iceberg.
Other landowners were also experiencing similar problems but not reporting them due an opinion that the Police would not be interested and not take action
It resulted in reported incidents increasing due to farmers and gamekeepers’ becoming frustrated with what was happening to them and the time / money they were losing.
Cleveland Police had recruited officers to tackle rural crime and were visiting the above, so the IP’s felt more confident to report things as they could see that positive action was being taken.
The landowners /farmers were beginning to tackle these criminals themselves which could have resulted in injury etc.
The local communities and other landowners were becoming increasingly frustrated and again starting report incidents more frequently
Legislation changes - Existing
Legislation changes - New
We ran 2 major operations with the support of Air Support, RPU, Dog Section, Crime Prevention and local Neighbourhood Teams
The first resulted in locating 2 4×4’s & 4 Quads in the early evening and trying to apprehend them with the help of all the above.
Maps were draw up of the difficult landscape to assist officers due to the potential need to follow these in the dark (which happened)
All exit points and locations the request units were to cover were sent out in advance, with officers making themselves aware of their given locations prior to the operation taking place.
The PPC for Cleveland Police was involved and gave his full support as were other senior supervision.
The local landowners / farmers were kept in the loop and let us set up sensors and gave keys to pinch points we had identified.
Due to the planned preparation the deployed units were able to deploy to the correct locations and have a understanding of the surrounding area and possible exit points
Assistance from other departments was excellent with all willing to assist on the planned operations
What didn't work
Pursuits were called off
Time frame allowed was not sufficient (00.00hrs finish) as a lot of the problems in the locality happened after that
We reduced the problem by approx. 80% although it must be stressed that the problem will always remain due to the location and persistence of those criminals involved.
The local community have now taken a more positive view that something can be done, and work is on-going with local school children from the areas that we believe the problem is originating from.
The area now also gets attention from various partner agencies including the fire brigade and local council.
The local farmers / landowners now work more closely with us and relationships have improved and we continue to build on this.
I would involve the local community and other agencies more and highlight at various meetings / schools what we are trying to achieve and why.
I would also follow up the success in the above and local press.
I would make the persons we believe to be responsible aware that we are watching them and visit them regularly.