Last Sunday NYMMO attended the Operation Owl event held at Sutton Bank National Parks Centre alongside the RSPB, North Yorkshire Police Rural Taskforce and North York Moors National Parks.
Operation Owl was launched last year exclusively in North Yorkshire and this year it has expanded to become a national event. The purpose of Operation Owl is to increase public awareness of bird of prey persecution and to seek support in tackling it head on. This year over 26 Police Forces across the country led the initiative alongside several partner organisations.
5 NYMMO gamekeepers attended the event at Sutton Bank and alongside North Yorkshire Police they demonstrated legal traps and snares to the public. Stuart Grainger (Sergeant of the Rural Crime Team) explained it was important that the public could recognise legal traps as it would then limit the number of reported calls to the police. Stuart also re-iterated that to interfere or damage a trap is a criminal offence and if any individual believes they have located a trap to be illegal they must report it directly to the police and not tamper in anyway with what could potentially be a crime scene.
Look North came to interview the partners and alongside Cathleen Thomas (RSPB) and Stuart Grainger (North Yorkshire Police Rural Task Force) our NYMMO gamekeeper Jimmy was also interviewed. We have had lots of interest since the interviews were shown on the television on each of the news broadcasts throughout the day last Monday.
Prior to the event there was certainly an element of doubt as to how the keepers would be received but on the day there was a steady flow of people that came to chat to the gamekeepers and partners, to look at the traps and snares and it was encouraging to see the positive reactions and responses the keepers received.