SIXTEEN fox cubs have been rescued after police swooped on a North Yorkshire barn.

The animals, all aged between six to eight weeks, were found during a search of an outbuilding on the Birdsall Estates, near Malton.

Acting on intelligence received, officers searched the barn last Sunday and the cubs were then taken to an animal sanctuary outside the county.

They were being fed and had access to water, but police now need further information as to how they got in the barn, why they were there, and who put them there.

Local wildlife crime officer PC Jez Walmsley said: “These cubs had been taken out of the wild, and will have come from at least four different litters.

“I am appealing to anyone with any information about these foxes, particularly landowners and the communities of Birdsall, Leavening and Thixendale, to contact me.

“I also want to hear from anyone who is aware of earth being dug out or vixens being killed, as they could have important information that could assist the investigation.”

A man has been arrested in connection with the incident and has since been released on police bail as the investigation continues.

Anyone with information that could assist should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option two and ask for Jeremy Walmsley or email

To remain anonymous, information can be passed to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.