The following article © appeared in in the Rochdale Observer, 13th October 2004.

A WHITWORTH man has been arrested with two others on suspicion of badger baiting.
The joint operation involving the police and the RSPCA resulted in the 63-year-old being picked up on warrant in Whitworth on Friday night
The other two were a 57-year-old from Harrogate and a 43-year-old from Nelson. They have now been released on police bail.
Police say 10 dogs were seized and taken to an undisclosed destination.
The warrant was executed as part of Operation Imperial, which involved six RSPCA officers and around 20 police officers. The arrests are the third set of badger baiting-related arrests this year in the area. Eleven people have already been dealt with following similar operations in Rossendale and Pendle.
The offence carries a maximum penalty of six months' imprisonment and/or up to a £5,000 fine.
Police Sergeant Andy Riley, who is based in Bacup, said: 'This is the third operation we've carried out in partnership with the RSPCA to crack down on offences of this nature.'
'We hope that this and earlier operations will go some way to helping prevent further incidents of badger baiting and the devastating effect it can have on local wildlife.'
Chief inspector Terry Spanner, from the RSPCA's special operations unit, said: 'Wildlife crime is a problem for us and it can be very hard to detect.'
'With this in mind, I would urge anyone with information to contact the RSPCA on 08705 555 999.'
'Where we have sufficient information on suspects, we will take action, as demonstrated on Friday.'

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