Sergeant Kev Kelly, Wildlife Crime Officer for North Yorkshire Police (NYP), has won an award for tackling wildlife crimes such as bat disturbance, greater crested newts habitat destruction and raptor persecution.

Sergeant Kelly was named Wildlife Law Enforcer of the year at the Wildlife Crime Conference.

The award is presented annually to the law enforcer who has done the most to combat wildlife crime within the UK which is a vital but often overlooked area of enforcement.

Speaking about winning the award, Sergeant Kelly said;

“It's a great pleasure to receive such a prestigious award. Now is a good time for me to reflect on the past 10 years that I have been a wildlife crime officer. I started from the bottom, having to earn the opportunity to be given a wildlife crime officer's course.

“As a PC at Selby I would work in my own time and on my days off to tackle hare coursing and poaching issues. Then along came Operation Jumbo, a wildlife and rural crime operation that boasted over 40 arrests over the three weeks. I have achieved convictions for bat disturbance, greater crested newts habitat destruction and raptor persecution. I also secured the first ever conviction for North Yorkshire police under the hunting act 2004 legislation.

“I am now Acting Inspector and the force operational lead for Wildlife Crime within our rural taskforce team and responsible for the twenty one Wildlife Crime Officers across the force.

“My team and I work relentlessly in our aim to tackle wildlife crime. However, we could not do this without successful partnership working. We work with the RSPB, Paw members, RSPCA, WWF and NWCU to safeguard our wildlife for us all to enjoy.

“We also need the public to play their part. You are our eyes and ears. We encourage you to report anything suspicious, or any concerns to us and we will review all of the information and take any necessary action to protect our wildlife”.

Inspector Jon Grainge said: “Kevin is hugely passionate in his role. He frequently leads from the front on wildlife crime investigations, using his enthusiasm, knowledge, and experience to positively influence others.”