Force helicopter captures horse attack on camera

Wednesday, 26 October, 2011

SYP Air Operations team are known for their success in locating stolen vehicles, catching thieves and finding missing people but less so for catching poachers and identifying animal cruelty - but it's all in a day's work for them team of SY99.

Last week the crew of the Force helicopter, known as SY99 was over Harlington in Barnsley at approximately 10.30pm when they spotted three men with three dogs walking though a field on the infrared camera. It was suspected that the men were poachers so the crew contacted wildlife officers PC Mark Winter and PC Paul Jameson.

The crew were capturing video evidence for PC Winter and PC Jameson who were on route and as the suspected poachers came across a curious horse one of them appeared to throw something at it. Then as the horse walked away, the man approached it and punched it hard in the face and kicked it on one of its hind legs.

The crew were able to direct PC Winter and PC Jameson to the location of the suspected poachers who had been 'lamping', a term for shooting at night using lamps. All three were detained, the lamping equipment was confiscated, two were dealt with for poaching offences and one man in his late 20's was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty under the animal welfare act and bailed pending further enquiries until mid December.

PC Mark Winter said: "It is a little known fact that South Yorkshire Police has officers who specialise in wildlife crime alongside their regular role but unfortunately in the large rural areas of South Yorkshire, wildlife crimes do occur. Poaching is a crime that can have a significant impact on rural communities.

"Without the assistance of the Air Operations Unit the men may not have been detained as the helicopter can scan vast areas of rural ground very quickly, something that officers on the ground can not do. Certainly, without the helicopter, one instance of animal cruelty would have gone undetected."

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