Police statement issued after couple are confronted by ‘masked men in camouflage’ who ‘refused to let them leave’ Sheffield beauty spot

Police say a complaint about the way officers dealt with an allegation of snare tampering at a nature reserve has been resolved.

Thursday, 28th February 2019, 12:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th February 2019, 12:32 pm
Liz Ballard and George Taylor.

George Taylor and his girlfriend, who has not been identified, were reportedly confronted by men in balaclavas when they returned to a car park after a walk around the scenic Wyming Brook Nature Reserve close to Redmires Reservoirs last week.

The Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, which runs the nature reserve, claimed that the men ‘blocked the car park exit and prevented them from leaving.’ 

The organisation said it is believed the men were gamekeepers from the nearby Moscar Estate.   

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They claimed the gamekeepers had been working with police and had arrived to question the couple on suspicion of snare tampering. 

However, the trust said there was absolutely no evidence against the couple who are both keen birdwatchers and trust volunteers.

The couple complained to South Yorkshire Police about how the incident was dealt with.

The force confirmed there was no evidence against the couple and that the issue has now been resolved. 

In a statement, police said they “received a report of suspicious persons possibly damaging snares within land near to Wyming Brook, Redmires Road.

“Officers were sent to the location and two persons were searched. They were found not to be in possession of any items intended for use to destroy or damage property were therefore allowed to leave. 

“A complaint was received following this incident, which was dealt with and resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction.

“The complaint related to the misunderstanding of information passed at the time by the officers upon attendance and communication with those searched.

“The sergeant who investigated the complaint was satisfied that the actions taken by the officers at the time were lawful, legitimate and proportionate in response to an ongoing report of criminal damage to property.” 

Police added that a number of reports of criminal damage on adjacent land are currently being investigated by wildlife crime officers. 

Liz Ballard, chief executive of the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, said the organisation does not condone snare tampering but added “officers need to be well trained in this area of law and consider the evidence before the accusation.”

We have contacted the Moscar Estate for comment and are waiting for a reply.