Five suspects are in custody after vigilant residents called police about suspected poachers in Hambleton, North Yorkshire.
At about 1am today, Friday 12 May, North Yorkshire Police received a call about a 4×4 vehicle in a field and a high-powered torch being used near Kilburn.
Officers responded immediately, and found a group of five men on the side of the road with two dogs, one of which was attacking a badger.
As soon as police arrived, the men got into a black Jeep Cherokee and made off at speed, abandoning the dogs as they did so.
Officers searched the area, and soon located the car off the A170 near Felixkirk. The five men inside were arrested on suspicion of wilfully killing a badger, an offence under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.
The two dogs were taken to a secure location to be looked after, and the Jeep was also seized. A dead badger was found at the scene.
The five suspects, who are from the Stockton-in-Tees area, remain in custody at this time while police enquiries continue.
Anyone who is aware of suspicious activity in rural areas – for example, vehicles or high-powered torches in unusual or unexpected locations – is urged to report it to the police. Dial 101, press 1 and pass the information to our Force Control Room, or if you see a crime in progress, dial 999.