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Report poaching to the police. It's a crime, and we will take action.

Poachers normally travel in groups, with dogs, using 4×4 vehicles. They typically hunt brown hare or deer. In addition to being a wildlife crime, their illegal activity can cause extensive damage to crops, fields and fences – and leave victims in fear of violence and retaliation.

About 80% of poaching incidents in North Yorkshire take place between September and February, usually on open farmland after crops have been harvested. The districts of Hambleton, Selby and Ryedale are typically worst hit. Many offenders travel into North Yorkshire from elsewhere in the region to commit their offences.

Anyone caught poaching will be summonsed to court, while those stopped in suspicious circumstances will be issued with a community protection warning or a community protection notice – breaches of which will be prosecuted.

We also act on information from local communities. Mobile Rural Watch schemes, and groups of rural residents sharing information via WhatsApp groups, cover more than 90% of North Yorkshire’s rural communities, and can act as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the police, reporting suspicious activity that could be linked to poaching.

Tackling poaching offences is a national policing priority under the National Police Chiefs’ Council Rural Affairs and Wildlife Crime strategies.

Our own Operation Figaro runs alongside Operation Galileo, a national campaign bringing together forces particularly affected by poaching. Forces work together to ensure the issue is dealt with in a co-ordinated way, by sharing information about poachers, and working across force boundaries – for example, on the Selby and Humberside border.

Officers are working hand-in-hand with local communities. Reports of poaching will be taken extremely seriously, so poachers will find it very difficult to enter and leave North Yorkshire unchallenged.

Please note down and report any suspicious activity, such as unusual vehicle movements, particularly in remote or isolated areas. Even if the information doesn’t need an immediate response, every piece of intelligence helps the police build up a picture and could prove vital in bring criminals to justice.

Call North Yorkshire Police on 101 if it’s not urgent – or 999 in an emergency or a crime is in progress. This includes if you witness poaching taking place – this is a crime, and should be reported as such.