Wild birds slaughtered with a large calibre rifle in Ripon

An example of the type of mute swan slaughtered in North Stainley.
An example of the type of mute swan slaughtered in North Stainley.

Wild geese and swans have been shot and left to die in an act of “utterly barbaric” animal cruelty at a lake in North Stainley.

A member of an ecological survey team discovered Canadian and greylag geese and a mute swan, which had been shot through the wings and legs with a large calibre rifle, on Friday, April 19 at Norton Mills lake.

A number of geese were already found dead, but others were severely injured and left to die.

PC Simon Crossley, a wildlife crime officer with North Yorkshire Police (NYP) and leading officer of the investigation, told the Gazette: “This is an utterly barbaric and sickening attack which has caused quite appalling and prolonged suffering.

“It is beyond belief that someone could take any pleasure from causing this amount of suffering.

“The use of firearms in the area is absolutely reckless and could have placed other people in danger.

“I urge anyone who can identify those responsible to contact the police immediately.”

The RSPB, RSPCA, National Wildlife Crime Unit and Natural England are helping Ripon police with their investigation.

PC Crossley added: “I would like to thank the other agencies who are assisting with this investigation.”

A spokesman for NYP said: “Those responsible have not only caused damage to one of the most important wildlife sites in the north of England, but have also put members of the public and the ecology team at risk through their criminal use of firearms.”

- Anyone who can help police with their investigation can contact NYP on 101, select option 2 and ask for Simon Crossley. Alternatively, information can be emailed to simon.crossley@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk. If you would like to remain anonymous you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, quoting reference number 12130064101.