Hare coursers damaged farmer's crops in escape bid

field destroyed and car caught

The damaged caused to the farmer's field in Fowlmere, left and the moment the hare-coursing trio were caught by police. - Credit: Cambs police

A trio of hare coursers have been sentenced after they caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage to a Fowlmere farmer’s crops, while attempting to make off from police. 

Jimmy Cole, aged 43, Chase Loveridge, 36, and 20-year-old Levi Cole, were spotted driving a silver Land Rover across a field near Cambridge Road in Fowlmere, at about 12 noon on 24 September last year.

Officers from the force’s Rural Crime Action Team were able to quickly box the car in near the junction with the A505.

They found the five-seater car overloaded with three men, three children and three dogs.

Jimmy Cole, the driver, denied hare coursing and claimed he had driven to the area from Surrey to "walk the dog".

The three men were issued with community protection notices and dispersed from the area.

Officers then returned to the field and found extensive damage caused to the crops where the men had driven straight through the middle and ignored a number of 'no vehicles' signs.

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The damage caused to the sugar beet crops was estimated to cost the farmer about £500.

The men were summonsed and sentenced at Cambridge Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

Jimmy Cole, of Lyne Road in Surrey, admitted criminal damage, daytime trespass in pursuit of game and using a motor vehicle dangerously.

He was ordered to pay £500 compensation to the farmer, fined an additional £500 and three penalty points were added to his licence.

Levi Cole, also of Lyne Road, and Loveridge - of Guildford Road in Surrey - admitted daytime trespass in pursuit of game and were handed £300 fines.

Hare coursing is a bloodsport where dogs are used to chase, catch and kill hares.

It is illegal in the UK under the Hunting Act 2004, which makes it an offence to hunt wild mammals with dogs.

RCAT's DC Tom Nuttall said: “These men showed complete disregard for the farmer by driving over his crops and damaging his livelihood, all to try and escape from police with an overloaded car.

"We will continue to do all we can and use whatever methods possible to disrupt and deter hare coursers in Cambridgeshire."

If you suspect hare coursing is happening in your area contact the police on 101.