13th February 2021
TWO Keighley men who were caught coming off land in the Dales after poaching rabbits have each received fines.
George Lister, 23, of Bracken Bank Avenue, and Liam Smith, 21, of Prospect Street, admitted being in possession of game and going on land unlawfully in pursuit of game, when they appeared at Skipton Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
The incident occurred on November 11 last year at a farm off Scabbate Gate, in Kettlewell.
Prosecuting, Nadine Clough told the bench that police had been alerted at around 11pm to potential poaching activity in the area and attended the area.
Police came across Lister and Smith heading back to a Vauxhall Corsa car which had been driven by Smith.
“When questioned they said they had been looking for rabbits. There were rabbits in the boot and a dog in the back of the car,” said Miss Clough.
“The men did not have the land owner’s permission. Mr Smith said his father had permission (to hunt rabbits on the land) but he did not.
Miss Clough added the landowner of Westgate Farm accepted there are people that he allows to go on his land, but because of the pandemic that had not been happening. She said he confirmed neither the defendants had permission.
Both men were unrepresented in court.
Smith, who had no previous convictions, said his dad used to take him there and had permission. He said he hadn’t been there in a long time and his dad had since told him that it was a different landowner now.
Smith, a painter and decorator, added: “I won’t ever go back there again.”
He was told the bench had the power to ban him from driving because he had used his vehicle for an unlawful activity.
Lister, who used to work at a stone yard before becoming unemployed and had one previous conviction for an unrelated offence, said he apologised adding that it would not happen again.
Both men were each fined £80 and each ordered to pay costs of £85 and a surcharge of £34.
The bench told Smith they were not disqualifying him from driving in this instance.