FOUR men could be facing the courts after residents alerted the police to suspected poaching in North Yorkshire.

Police say they were called in the early hours of January 5 to reports that a group of men with lamps and dogs were in a field around the Upper Poppleton area, near York.Officers attended immediately, and searched the surrounding countryside.

At 1am, they found and spoke to four men, aged in their 20s and 30s. All four have now been reported for summons for poaching offences.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said: "We know that incidents of poaching tend to increase in the winter months. However, anyone thinking of coming to North Yorkshire to commit such offences should know that this behaviour will not be tolerated.

"Officers are working hand-in-hand with local communities, so we rely on residents to call in suspicious activity, and we take such reports extremely seriously."

North Yorkshire police launched Operation Galileo as part of a nationwide clampdown on illegal poaching. They are asking residents to note down and report suspicious activity, such as unusual vehicle movements, particularly in remote areas so they can build a picture to bring criminals to justice.