AN INQUIRY has been launched into how police investigated a farmer for firing a shotgun at a thief on his land.

Bill Edwards, of Riggs Head, near Scarborough, said he had made a formal complaint to North Yorkshire Police after being arrested and accused of attempted murder by the force following the incident in August.

He and his mother, Louisa Smith, discovered thieves had returned to their farm overlooking the North York Moors for the second time in 24 hours, and after one of the intruders drove a car towards his mother, Mr Edwards fired a shotgun at the vehicle.

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Police arrested one of the thieves a few miles away, but also held the farmer and his mother in a cell overnight.

After spending four months on bail, the Crown Prosecution Service said Mr Edwards would not be charged with an offence as "people are entitled to use reasonable force in self-defence to defend themselves, their family and their property”.

David Taylor, 39, of Scarborough, admitted theft at Scarborough Magistrates Court earlier this month and was fined £100, after claiming to have been “traumatised” when Mr Edwards opened fire on the van.

Taylor was ordered to pay £34.99 for the damage caused to the farm gate and padlock while trying to escape.

Mr Edwards said he and his mother had been made to feel like criminals and issued the complaint as he wanted answers about how the police had conducted the case.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said the complaint would be dealt with by the force’s Professional Standards Department.

He said: “As the force has received a formal complaint regarding the way the investigation of the incident was handled, it would not be appropriate to comment at this stage.”