POLICE have arrested a man and seized his dogs in an investigation into badger baiting and animal welfare.

North Yorkshire Police say that on Wednesday night (January 25) they responded to reports of poaching in a rural location north of Richmond.

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Officers from Richmondshire Neighbourhood Policing Team attended and, after making enquiries at the scene, a man was arrested.

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He had three dogs with him which all had injuries. One was seriously hurt with deep cuts around its neck. They were taken into police care and treated by an RSPCA vet.

Police subsequently did a full search of the area and sadly they found a disturbed badger set and a dead badger.

The man, who is in his 20s and from the Sunderland area, has been arrested on suspicion of a wildlife offence, breeching a dog control order and theft of a mobile phone. He was questioned and bailed to allow for further investigations to take place.

Three dogs that were with him have not been returned to the suspect and are being well looked after.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “The prompt response from Richmondshire’s Neighbourhood Policing Team and further investigations at the scene have led to a man being arrested on suspicion of a number of different offences.

“When we investigate reports of rural crime, it can often lead to other crimes being detected, such as animal cruelty, theft or motoring offences.

“That's why information from the public is extremely valuable to help us keep rural communities safe. We’d always encourage anyone who has information to come forward and share it with us. As this case and others shows, we do act on it and we do take it very seriously.”

Anyone with information about badger baiting or any other wildlife crime is urged to report it to North Yorkshire Police by visiting the website and using the ‘Report’ button on the homepage.

You can also contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 and select option 1, or phone the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.