York & North Yorkshire

RSPB critical of Hawes bird trapper caution

Pole trap Image copyright RSPB
Image caption Three illegal pole traps were discovered by a member of the public on the Mossdale Estate, near Hawes

The RSPB has criticised North Yorkshire Police's decision to issue a caution to a man who admitted setting bird traps.

The 23-year-old man handed himself in to police after he was caught on camera setting illegal pole traps on the Mossdale Estate, near Hawes, in May.

An RSPB spokesman praised the force's response but said "we simply do not understand the decision to issue a caution for such a serious case".

The force said it was "mindful" of the concerns and was reviewing the case.

'Nearly extinct' species

Three of the traps - which were outlawed in 1904 - were discovered by a member of the public on 6 May and reported to the RSPB.

The charity said they had been found in an area where a hen harrier had been spotted earlier the same day.

Bob Elliot, head of RSPB Investigations, said: "These are dreadful, barbaric devices and have no place in the 21st century.

"The sighting of a hen harrier in the immediate area is of particular concern.

"This species is nearly extinct as a breeding species in England and it last bred successfully in North Yorkshire in 2007."

He said the charity would be writing to the police and seeking an explanation.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said all options, including prosecution, were considered and a caution was deemed the "most appropriate course of action".

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