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North Yorkshire game farmer fined over 'cruel traps'

A game farmer from Cropton in North Yorkshire has been found guilty of permitting the use of a pole trap on his farm and fined £4000 by Scarborough Magistrates.

Michael Wood, who is 68, was also ordered to pay £750 court costs and a £120 victim surcharge, following the use of covert surveillance by RSPB Investigations Unit staff.

Two members of Mr Wood’s staff had previously been cautioned by North Yorkshire Police for the use of five pole traps on the farm.

Magistrates ruled it was “inconceivable” that Mr Wood would not have seen one of the pole traps being used by his staff. Westfield Farm rears pheasants and partridges for the game shooting industry.

Pole traps are a method of trapping birds that was outlawed over a hundred years ago. They consist of a steel trap placed on top of a pole that crushes the legs of any wild bird that land on them.

RSPB Investigations Officer, Howard Jones, said: “It is time that these cruel traps were consigned to the history books, but as long as they are being used we will continue to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice."

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Gulls branded 'muggers of the seaside'

They're as much a feature of the seaside as fish and chips or sticks of rock, but seagulls have now been dubbed "muggers" of our coastal towns ahead of a top level summit in Scarborough today.

Credit: Press Association

There's been growing concern about the birds causing mess, and even dive-bombing locals and tourists in Scarborough, Whitby and Filey.

Now civic leaders are to meet with conservationists, pest controllers and seaside traders to work out what, if anything, can be done to limit the nuisance.

Herring gulls and kittiwakes are protected by law and in the case of herring gulls, can only be culled if they are posing a proven risk to public health and safety.

Scarborough Council officials say birds nesting in the towns can cause a variety of problems including "excessive noise and sleep deprivation; fouling by droppings and regurgitated food; litter and mess from scavenging; attacks by parent birds; damage to property; blockage of gas flues; and mugging or stealing food."

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Watch Bella - the 365 trick dog!

A woman in Hetton-le-Hole is teaching her dog Bella 365 tricks - one for every day of the year.

Lynn Stacey has been a wheelchair user for two years and Bella already helps her around the house by opening drawers, putting washing in the machine and even taking Lynn's shoes and socks off.

Now to raise money for Dog Aid, which trains dogs to help people with disabilities, Lynn is teaching Bella a new trick every day for a year and posting the videos online.

Click below to see Bella's "Sleep" trick...

...and click below for Bella's "Frisk" trick.

To see Lynn's website click here. Or you can even follow Bella herself on Twitter:

WATCH: Family of otters caught on otter-cam!

A family of otters has set up home on the banks of the River Allen at Staward Gorge, near Bardon Mill, in Northumberland.

Caught on otter-cam

The National Trust is keeping a close watch on them and says it shows just how good the environment is for wildlife in the area.

Chris Johnson, National Trust ranger:

The National Trust has managed to capture the otter family on otter-cam!

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