Seal: CrazyiTunesAmazon

Seal: CrazyiTunesAmazon

WATCH: Behind the scenes as North Yorkshire Police investigate "illegal farm"

WATCH: Behind the scenes as North Yorkshire Police investigate "illegal farm"

Published at 2:23pm 18th October 2018. (Updated at 2:27pm 18th October 2018)

Police say they believe they have uncovered a large illegal farming operation in North Yorkshire.

It comes after over 400 suspected stolen animals, including Turkeys Sheep and Goats, were found in the Thirsk area.

Officers say they've reunited a large number of the suspected stolen animals with their rightful owners this week.

However there are still a lot of animals who need to be returned. Officers say in particular they are trying to locate the owners of 11 Swaledale tup lambs and want to speak to anyone who lost or sold 30 turkeys on or around Friday 12 October.

The owner of about 40 chickens had been identified, the force added. 


Rabbits seized as part of the investigation.


Turkeys seized as part of the investigation.


More than 400 animals – including dogs, sheep, goats, rabbits, turkeys, ducks and chickens – were seized as part of the investigation, and are being looked after in secure locations.

Officers from North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce located a man in suspicious circumstances on land in the Thirsk area at about 4pm on Friday 12 October 2018.

About 30 live turkeys were found in a pickup truck at the scene, and a large number of other animals were then located at the premises.

The 42-year-old man, from the Ripon area, was arrested on suspicion of the theft of animals, money laundering and breaching an order disqualifying him from keeping animals.

He has been released under investigation while police enquiries continue. 

Sergeant Kevin Kelly, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said:

“We really need the public to pull together with this one, and help us get the word out there, as we suspect that not all of the animals will be stolen from the North Yorkshire area.

The sheer volume of animals makes this a complex investigation. Our priority has been to ensure that the animals are safe and well.

We are working closely with the RSPCA as our enquiries continue, as we look to restore any stolen property to its rightful owners as quickly as possible.

We are now speaking to the NFU and the farming community to help us establish the ownership of these animals.

Thankfully, the owners of the two collie dogs are ‘over the moon’ to be reunited with their beloved dogs.”

Anyone with any information that could assist the investigation is asked to email ruraltaskforce@northyorkshire.pnn.police.ukquoting reference number 12180191078.