A NORTH Yorkshire Police initiative designed to reduce the number of illegal attacks on birds-of-prey is today being rolled out across the country.

'Operation Owl' was launched in February 2018. It set out to raise awareness of raptor persecution, encouraging the public to be vigilant for signs of this criminal activity, whilst increasing police surveillance checks on known hot-spots in order to disrupt offender activity.

North Yorkshire is home to a fairly diverse population of birds of prey - but suffers the highest levels of raptor persecution in the country.

Operation Owl - initially a partnership between the police,  the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA), together with the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks - has now gone national.

A new website will provide access to detailed information and resources to support the public in being vigilant for signs of raptor persecution and reporting anything incidents of concern.

Inspector Kevin Kelly, North Yorkshire Police’s operational lead for wildlife crime, said: “Today is a proud milestone for North Yorkshire Police as Operation Owl goes national.

"I’m amazed by the commitment and enthusiasm of our staff really driving what’s important to our public and making a measurable difference.

"In countless statements I have said that partnership working is key to success, this shows what can be achieved if you really believe in the work you do.”

Find out more about Operation Owl in North Yorkshire at northyorkshire.police.uk/op-owl and nationally at operationowl.com.