Wildlife Crime Officers

The policing of wildlife crime is a specialist subject. North Yorkshire Police has appointed Wildlife Crime Officers (WCOs) who, along with their normal duties, volunteer to investigate wildlife offences.

WCOs are specially trained in investigating crimes against wildlife. They will either assist other police officers or take the lead role in the investigation of the more intricate cases, and can also offer training and advice to colleagues.

The following list of North Yorkshire Police WCOs is correct as of December 2014:

Portfolio Leads

  • PS 1153 Martin McLachlan
  • SOCO 4826 Michael Crockford (SOC Force Lead)


  • PC 1014 Vanessa Bateson (Grassington)
  • PC 1405 Simon Crossley (Grassington)

Hambleton and Richmondshire

  • PC 391 John Wilbor (Richmond Rural)
  • PC 1895 Rob Davies (Northallerton)
  • PC 1835 Clare Mayes (Thirsk)
  • PC 558 Julian Sutcliffe (Leyburn)


  • PC 1237 Gareth Jones (Ripon)
  • PC 820 Bill Hickson (Pately Bridge)

Scarborough and Ryedale

  • PC 931 Jeremy Walmsley (Malton)
  • PC 1923 Sarah Owen (Malton)
  • PC 595 Graham Bilton (Filey)


  • PC 1238 Sarah Ward (Sherburn)


  • PC 418 Paddy Green (Acomb)
  • PC 1564 Paul Sutton (Acomb)
  • PC 1371 Ruth Atkins (York)

Wildlife crime is committed when an offence under certain Acts of Parliament has been breached. Offences often involve cruelty and the unlawful killing of wild mammals and birds, some of which are protected species.Wildlife is the native fauna and flora of a region. It includes all non-domesticated animals, wild plants and other organisms. The domestication of wild animals and plant species for human benefit has occurred over many hundreds of years, and can have a major impact on the environment, both positive and negative.

There are numerous Acts of Parliament that provide protection for wildlife in England and Wales. Some of the legislation that provides this protection is listed below but this is not exhaustive.

North Yorkshire Police is responsible for enforcing the above legislation within North Yorkshire and the City of York. The Acts of Parliament outline a range of offences that can be committed. The police force will enforce the law when offences under legislation are perpetrated and in particular those offences in relation to:

  • Unlawful trapping/snaring of wild animals
  • Unlawful hunting of wild mammals
  • Killing, injuring, taking, disturbing etc. wild birds
  • Taking/possessing/destroying wild birds eggs/nest disturbance
  • Badger persecution
  • Killing, injuring, taking, disturbing etc. wild bats
  • Damaging protected sites
  • Unlawful poisoning of wildlife
  • Stealing wild plants
  • Unlawful hunting and poaching
  • Unlawful trade in endangered species
  • Disturbing cetaceans