A POLICE force has come under fire a second time accused of selling off the "family silver" as historic artefacts and trophies go under the hammer at a public auction.

One sale was cancelled after North Yorkshire police pulled the plug on it following criticism over the 'unreserved auction' of hundreds of items from their old headquarters at Newby Wiske, near Northallerton.

The old building has been cleared after the force moved into new premises at Alverton Court in Northallerton.

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There were fears items of particular historic significance and real relevance were being sold off. These included a silver cup engraved with the Green Howard Insignia presented to the former North Riding constabulary by the Green Howards.

It was felt many items should be offered to places such as the Green Howards Museum in Richmond and the Police and Prison Museum in Ripon.

Now the sale has been rescheduled for January 30 at Wilsons sale rooms at Dalry, in Ayrshire, where it is being advertised as the 'Unreserved contents of the North Yorkshire police headquarters'.

They say more than 200 lots from the clearance of North Yorkshire Police Headquarters are to be sold to the highest bidder.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Phil Cain said in the time since the previous auction was postponed a number of museums and organisations representing officers past and present had been consulted and given the chance to identify items important to their members.

"I’m pleased to say that some of those we consulted have taken us up on this offer and several items are being rehomed. We had already retained a number of historically-significant items prior to the planned sale, and have carried out a further review since the auction was postponed," he added.

But former police officer and chair of the North Yorkshire police federation Mark Botham, said he is unhappy the sale is going ahead and could find no evidence of consultation about the sale with former officers.

He said: "I, like many retired officers, am disappointed that this sale is being rescheduled and that items that should be donated to local museums haven’t been.

"It seems odd to have a sale so close to the festive period, it’s almost like it had been timed to minimise negative publicity from selling the family silver.

"It appears some people still know the price of everything and the value of nothing."