CAMPAIGNERS took part in a rally demanding that Yorkshire Water ends grouse shooting on its moorland.

Several dozen people gathered to protest in Bradford city centre.

And the campaign was then taken to Haworth, Stanbury and Keighley – where the utility company leases out areas of moor – as a van promoting the anti-shooting message travelled around the district.

Saturday’s demonstration was jointly organised by campaign groups Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors and the League Against Cruel Sports.

It took place just two days before the Glorious Twelfth, the traditional start of the grouse shooting season.

Among those at the Bradford event was Emmerdale actor Nick Miles, who claimed that grouse shooting was “taking away people’s heritage”.

The crowd also heard from Luke Steele, of the Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors group.

He told supporters that “enough was enough” and grouse shooting had to be banned.

Mr Steele added that 130,000 people had contacted the chief executive officer of Yorkshire Water asking for the company to cancel the shooting leases on its 11 areas of moorland.

He said: “Yorkshire Water is trying to turn back the tide. The tide of public opinion is growing.”

A small group of people was present putting across the opposite message.

Simon Grace, who lives in the district, said: “There are two sides to every story. We want people to make-up their own mind.

“You’ve got to burn to regenerate new growth of heather. It’s not just grouse that benefit from that.”

He said he was helping to create small groups around the country which were aiming to counteract the message from Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors and other campaigners.

Yorkshire Water has said that it cannot always control shooting activity on its land. It said there were 3,530 hectares where shooting rights were owned by third parties and where banning the practice was therefore not an option.

In a previous statement it said: “In areas where we do have ownership of the shooting rights, Yorkshire Water has historically taken the approach that working with stakeholders to agree a mutually-beneficial approach to land management can achieve more than banning certain activities.”