MP welcomes crackdown on hare coursing
- Credit: Stephen Frost
South Cambs MP Anthony Browne has welcomed legislation which will introduce new police powers and tougher sentencing to tackle hare coursing.
The new legislation, which was announced today, has been set out by the government as an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
Hare coursing is an illegal activity where dogs are used to chase, catch and kill hares, and is a serious problem in some rural areas.
Those participating in hare coursing will face increased penalties, for the first time including the possibility of jail sentences, as well as new criminal offences and new powers for the courts to disqualify convicted offenders from owning or keeping dogs.
The maximum penalty for trespassing in pursuit of game will increase to an unlimited fine and the possibility of up to six months' imprisonment.
Two new criminal offences will also be created: trespassing with the intention of using a dog to search for or pursue a hare, and being equipped to trespass with the intention of using a dog to search for our pursue a hare.
Courts will also be able to order offenders to reimburse the costs incurred by the police in kennelling dogs seized in connection with hare coursing.
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Mr Browne commented: “I am delighted to see the government is listening to local farmers, who have been so badly impacted by harassment, property damage, threats and intimidation from perpetrators of these barbaric crimes.
"As I know from my discussions with them, Cambridgeshire Police have been keen to act – our Rural Crime Action Team have been leading the way in taking the fight to coursers, but didn’t have sufficient powers to do so.
“South Cambridgeshire’s farmers were among the first to put their case directly to this government last year, and their testimony at my farming forum last year has been crucial to seeing this action delivered.
“I will now be watching this legislation closely and doing all I can to ensure swift passage into law. It is long past time that our farmers, communities, and businesses had the kind of protection that can only be brought by tougher legislation.”