Three men have been arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty after Humberside Police executed warrants on their addresses in Howden this morning (Thursday 24 October).


The men are suspected of being involved in hunting wildlife with dogs. They have been taken to a police station for questioning.


The intelligence-led operation involved officers from the RSPCA’s special operations unit and from Humberside Police.


Eight dogs and two hares were seized by police and placed in RSPCA care. A number of items of hunting paraphernalia including lamps and nets were also seized.


RSPCA special operations unit chief inspector Ian Briggs said: “Where we have evidence that offences have taken place we will take action to bring the individuals involved before a court.


“I hope this sends a message to anyone involved in this kind of deliberate, abhorrent cruelty – we are actively seeking you and the next knock on the door could be us.”


Humberside Police wildlife officer PC Julie Turrell said: “The East Riding is a predominantly rural area with more than half the population living in small rural villages.


“14% of all industry in the East Riding relates to agriculture, forestry and fishing, therefore officers in the East Riding take the needs of the rural communities very seriously.


“I have previously asked residents to keep their eyes and ears open and report any incidents they may be aware of relating to poaching and wildlife crime. As a result of this, three men have been arrested on suspicion of offences under the Animal Welfare Act and the Badger Act.


“40% of all reported wildlife crime nationally comes from this area (Hull & East Riding) – hence the importance for us working closely with the RSPCA in tackling illegal hunting and poaching.


“Working together with the RSPCA, we hope this investigation sends out a strong message to anyone who thinks animal cruelty is acceptable. We take all illegal poaching and rural criminal activity very seriously.”


Anyone with any specific information about organised animal cruelty should call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999, police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.