TWO men have been fined after pleading guilty to poaching in Ryedale.

Andrew Dowse, 53, of Carlin How, and Steven Raymond Jones, 52, of Redcar, admitted hunting a hare with a dog – an offence under the Hunting Act 2004 – at Spaunton, Kirkbymoorside on March 11.

They now face a total court bill of more than £800 as a result of their illegal actions.

North Yorkshire Police were alerted to suspected poaching activity in the area at about 1.15pm . By 2pm, a PCSO from Ryedale Neighbourhood Policing Team had located a suspicious vehicle and a number of witnesses.

A short time later, Dowse and Jones were seen returning to the vehicle with two dogs.

They were stopped and spoken to by an officer from the Rural Taskforce, and their vehicle, a blue Mitsubishi ASX, was seized.

Both pleaded guilty when they appeared at Scarborough Magistrates Court on Friday, November 23. Dowse was fined £50 and ordered to pay costs of £310 and a victim surcharge of £30. Jones was fined £110 and ordered to pay costs of £310 and a victim surcharge of £30.

PC Mark Atkinson, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: “Dealing with poaching is one of the top priorities of the Rural Taskforce, and anyone participating in this illegal activity can expect to be dealt with by North Yorkshire Police robustly.

“If you are planning to come to North Yorkshire with the aim of poaching or committing rural crime, this case should send a clear message – you will be seen, stopped and brought before a court.”

Members of the public are reminded to help their local police by reporting suspicious activity, particularly in rural areas. Even the smallest piece of information could prove vital in securing a conviction. To report suspicious activity, call North Yorkshire Police on 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress.