A 21-year-old man from Surrey has been charged with a hare coursing offence in North Herts.

Edward Connors, of Banstead, was arrested following a report of hare coursing in the Wallington area, near Baldock, at around 8.45pm on Friday, July 15.

Officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary investigated and traced a 4x4 vehicle to Slip End at Ashwell, between Baldock and Royston, which they said failed to stop for police.

PC Jon Steppings and PCSO Hannah Moss stopped the vehicle by 9.20pm and five men and five dogs allegedly made off on foot.

Connors was arrested in connection with the incident and was charged with dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, driving with no insurance and hare coursing.

He was also charged with breaching a Community Protection Notice in relation to the offence of hare coursing.

Two dogs were seized at the scene, and it is thought that this arrest is the first during the 2022 'hare coursing season' - which usually begins when farmers start harvesting their crops.

Connors has since been released on bail and a court date has not been set.

PC Steppings, from the Rural Royston policing team, said he wanted to reassure residents that they take reports of hare coursing seriously and remind the public that hare coursing - using dogs to chase hares by sight, catch them and kill them - is illegal.

PC Steppings said: "It can be very distressing for members of the public to witness hare coursing.

"We have worked hard with the rural community to encourage them to report suspected incidents to us, particularly if they are in progress.

"I want to reassure our rural residents that we take this type of crime very seriously and, where possible, we will always attend a report in progress."

A police spokesperson urged members of the public to phone 999 if they see hare coursing in action.

They added that information about illegal hare coursing can be passed to police online (https://www.herts.police.uk/), or by phone on 101, or anonymously via the independent charity CrimeStoppers at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/ or on 0800 555 111.