Jailed: Man found with sheep, hens, pigeons and turkeys in car despite animal ban

Michael HawkswellMichael Hawkswell
Michael Hawkswell
A man who was banned from keeping animals has been sent to jail after being stopped in North Yorkshire with a sheep, two hens, two pigeons and four dead turkeys in his vehicle.

Michael Hawkswell was found with the animals just a few weeks after police stopped him on the A65 near Skipton with cardboard boxes containing 14 chickens and one duck.

The 40-year-old of Ralph Garth, Tockwith, near Wetherby, had at the time of both incidents been subject to the order under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which disqualifies him from owning or keeping animals.

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He was sentenced to six months in prison on at Harrogate Magistrates’ Court for breaching an animal disqualification order. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115.

North Yorkshire Police say that on August 28, Hawkswell’s vehicle was stopped by a roads policing officer on the A65 near Skipton. He was found with cardboard boxes containing a total of 14 chickens and one duck.

A few months later, officers on a routine patrol again stopped Hawkswell in a vehicle, near Bagby on the A19 on 11 December 2016. This time they found a sheep, two hens, two pigeons and four dead turkeys.

On both occasions, Hawkswell was arrested and subsequently charged.

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Sergeant Kevin Kelly, from North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: “Hawkswell is a danger to animals.

“As we became aware of him breaching his animal disqualification order, we raised his profile among officers in North Yorkshire Police and worked closely with the RSPCA, leading to the arrests and subsequent jail sentence.

“We take rural, wildlife and animal-related crime extremely seriously, and are leading the way nationally in how such offences are dealt with.

“This result is testament to our commitment. While Hawkswell or anyone else continues to breach an animal disqualification order, we will continue to bring them to justice.”