North Yorkshire Police search for illegal poisons in Nidderdale

North Yorkshire Police made quite a statement on Friday morning when at least 10 marked police vehicles descended upon Pateley Bridge in Nidderdale, along with forensic-suited poisons experts from Natural England. When asked by local residents what they were doing, the police replied they were conducting searches in relation to the illegal killing of birds of prey in the area.

North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Task Force tweeted about it yesterday:

This is a very good example of proactive policing. The Nidderdale AONB is one of the UK’s most notorious hotspots for illegal raptor persecution, particularly on many of its driven grouse moors e.g. see here for a recent damning report published by the local AONB authority and for just a small sample of reported persecution crimes in recent years see hereherehereherehereherehere here, here, here, here, here and here.

During lockdown, the police were appealing for information about two separate illegal poisoning incidents in the area, involving two dogs (here) and a buzzard (here) and it’s believed Friday’s search may have been in relation to these most recent incidents.

Illegal poisoning happens with such frequency in this area that the specific concoction used has even been named the ‘Nidderdale Cocktail’ (Bendiocarb, Carbofuran, Isofenphos, and Chloralose). Bendiocarb is licenced for use in England as an ingredient in a number of insect control products but should not be released into an environment where wildlife could come into contact with them. Carbofuran, Isofenphos and Chloralose are all banned substances which should not be used under any circumstances.

In the police’s tweet, they mention searches ‘under S19 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981’. This refers to Section 19 of the Act, entitled ‘Enforcement’ and allows officers to enter private land, without a warrant, to conduct searches where there is reasonable suspicion that an individual is committing or has committed an offence:

North Yorkshire Police haven’t revealed whether anything was found, and nor would we expect them to at this early stage, but the fact they turned up in force, accompanied by Natural England staff who have expertise in poison storage, labelling and identification, and that they weren’t shy about telling local shoppers why they were there, sends a very clear message to the Nidderdale raptor killers.

Well done, North Yorkshire Police & Natural England. More of this, please.

20 thoughts on “North Yorkshire Police search for illegal poisons in Nidderdale”

  1. Good to see activity like this, especially with the approach of the inglorious 12th when the criminals will not want to see anything resembling a raptor in the area.

  2. Great work by North Yorkshire Police. Having been involved in many such operations I am not holding my breath since evidence of illegality is always difficult to pin on an individual but if you don’t try you won’t succeed. For interest see the difference between S19 WCA in England and Wales and the same section under the version of the legislation used in Scotland. Note the value of the term under subsection (b) to search FOR and the addition under subsection (b) of the past tense as well as the present tense. This has been in force in Scotland since 2014 and has made a huge difference in the ability of the police to search w/o warrant;
    19.–(1) If a constable suspects with reasonable cause that any person is committing or has committed an offence under this Part, the constable may without warrant–
    (a) stop and search that person if the constable suspects with reasonable cause that evidence of the commission of the offence is to be found on that person;
    (b) search for, search or examine any thing which that person may then be using or may have used, or may have or have had in his possession, if the constable suspects with reasonable cause that evidence of the commission of the offence is to be found in or on that thing;
    (c) arrest that person;
    (d) seize and detain for the purposes of proceedings under this Part any thing which may be evidence of the commission of the offence or may be liable to be forfeited under section 21.

  3. This is what is needed: they have to put the criminals on the back foot – so this needs repeating on an irregular basis.

  4. If this approach could be broadened nationwide alongside some form of vicarious liability – the results would be immediate and game-changing.

  5. good news from NY police, lets hope that they acted on good intelligence and that they hope fully found something. If not the poisoners/suppliers/ holders are forewarned and it may become more difficult to find in future searches. Will keep the criminals on the backfoot though and that is always a plus.

  6. About time too.

    Perhaps an ongoing search during the 12 August would be productive. The search for banned poisons should happen more often. The criminals do not consider the actions of scattering the deadly stuff around. If they continue it may be a child that dies next!

    More searches required without notice.

  7. Brilliant. It’s a pity that the police did not have a sniffer dog, trained to detect these poisons, like they have in Spain. I like the thought of an animal being the one that brings down these wildlife killers.

    Many people that I speak to in Nidderdale are sick and tired of those in the area who kill raptors and other wildlife. The ‘respectable moorland community’ keep going on about how their way of life is being threatened by people who don’t understand country ways, but what they fail to understand is that there are far more people in the area who detest their way of life. This Police action will hopefully have the wildlife killers looking over their shoulders every time they think about laying a poisoned bait or pointing a shotgun at a Red Kite etc.

  8. Great news for raptor conservation at last. This is what is required: being proactive is something the criminal fraternity do not like. Early morning raids are particularly effective in the modern world of crime.
    Time to make them ‘think’ all of the time and make them uneasy about moving about where they can be seen up to no good. You have just made my day, thanks.

  9. At the very least, I hope there are many cases of prosecution for illegal poisons in the offing, and the culprits, and their estates, are named and shamed.

  10. Whilst this proactive approach to policing wildlife offences is certainly welcome, and hopefully the North Yorkshire Police’s approach will be adopted by other constabularies.
    However, there is some risk involved in this approach.
    There is some evidence that criminals who successfully conceal illegal items which aren’t found by the police during searches, can be emboldened in their illegal activities, as they develop a sense of being “untouchable”. This can be even more so in rural communities where there is minimal police presence, and thus risk of detection is low, and where there is a more arrogant mindset.
    Hopefully the North Yorkshire police searches were successful and prosecutions will follow?

    However, we can all help the police in developing this proactive position.

    Illegal Poisons are often concealed in remote outbuildings, hidden in drystone walls or concealed in small pits in the grounds. It is worth bearing this in mind when out and about in the countryside.
    If you see something suspicious
    – don’t touch it!
    – but photograph it
    – identify its precises location using the What3Words App,
    – and report to the local police.

    Likewise, if you come across a number of dead animals all in close proximity, and suspect poisoning – then don’t touch- but photograph, locate and and report.

    I have found poisons hidden in plastic bags secreted in small rock cairns out on the moors- so being vigilant, and having that awareness can really help the police, if you see something suspicious and report it!

    The more intelligence the police can get- the more likely it is that we will see further action like that conducted by North Yorkshire police, and hopefully this will result in criminals being prosecuted and wildlife being saved.

  11. This needs to be happening at every poisoning incident
    Tourists should abstain from visiting the Nidderdale area and voice why?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: