Police arrest suspected badger baitersThree people were arrested in a major police and RSPCA operation to crack down on animal cruelty in Keighley.

Officers swooped on five addresses in the area early yesterday, following a long-running investigation.

Several animals, including five dogs and a hawk, were recovered.

The arrested men were held on suspicion of offences including deer-poaching and cruelty relating to badger-baiting and injuries sustained to dogs. The men were questioned and then released on police bail pending further inquiries.

Two of the recovered dogs, bull lurcher and terrier types, were taken to a local vet for treatment.

The hawk was seized under the Animal Welfare Act because it was allegedly being kept in unsuitable conditions.

PC Richard Oddy, wildlife officer with Airedale and North Bradford Police, said: “These raids have come about as a result of information provided by the public to the police and RSPCA, which has allowed us to work together to act as we have.

“Inquiries are continuing into animal cruelty offences in the Keighley area and I would ask anyone who has information to contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 or myself on 0845 6060606.”

Chief Inspector Suzanne Akeroyd, of Airedale and North Bradford Police, said: “We know from speaking to residents that animal cruelty is a crime which often causes as much distress in our streets and communities as it does to us as police officers.

“We will always investigate allegations of cruelty and will take action whenever possible, so I would encourage residents to keep getting in touch with both ourselves and the RSPCA.”

Chief Inspector Ian Briggs, of the RSPCA special operation unit, said yesterday’s action had been a huge success.

He added: “With the co-operation of West Yorkshire Police, the RSPCA has been able to act positively in this case to prevent further cruelty taking place and we thank local residents for contacting us with this valued information.”

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