A VICIOUS snare maimed a helpless family pet close to a North Yorkshire beauty spot. A warning has been issued after an injured cat was found in the “gin trap” close to Rievaulx Abbey, near Helmsley.

The discovery has triggered a warning from Ryedale Wildlife Crime Officer, PC Andy Marsden. He said anyone found using the “cruel” and illegal contraption faces up to £5,000 in fines and six months behind bars.

PC Marsden went to Rievaulx Abbey and spoke to the staff, who reported the incident after being alerted on Wednesday.

He said the gin trap appeared to have been baited with biscuit and margarine, possibly to tempt an animal into its jaws.

But a pet cat was snared by its paw and the injured animal dragged the trap from where it had been set into a drainage channel. It had to be released by abbey employees.

An English Heritage spokesman said: “An illegal gin trap was found in the grounds of Rievaulx Abbey. It was discovered, having caught a cat. On release, the cat escaped and its whereabouts and condition are presently unknown.

“It is not known who set the trap. The police have been informed and are investigating. English Heritage staff at the site are keeping an eye open for the cat in order to check on its well-being.”

PC Marsden is appealing for any information regarding who set the trap before more are placed.

He said: “These traps are illegal to use because their design causes great suffering to any animal caught in them, whether they be wild animals or an innocent family pet that has been lured into them,” he said.

“They are designed to catch and hold between the teeth but not kill. In this case the cat could have been in the trap for a number of days, causing a tremendous amount of pain and suffering.”

People caught using gin traps can be fined up to £5,000 and can receive a six month prison term.

It is unclear whether the trap had been set on English Heritage land or if it had been dragged there.

A spokesman for English Heritage said it was done without the organisation’s consent and they in no way condone the action taken.

Source: York Press

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