Police warning to would-be hare coursers
PUBLISHED: 16:34 22 August 2014 | UPDATED: 16:34 22 August 2014
Police are warning would-be hare coursers that they face tough sanctions if they are caught partaking in the illegal sport.
Hare coursing involves the pursuit of a hare with dogs and usually ends with the hare being killed. It has been illegal in the UK since 2005.
Police say the harvest period usually marks the start of an increase in incidents of hare coursing, with the fields surrounding Royston often targeted by people who come from outside the town to carry out the activity.
Sgt Jamie Bartlett, who leads the rural operational support team, said: “Not only do illegal coursers and poachers trespass on private land, damage crops and property, but they also often steal property and can be abusive and intimidating to those who challenge them.
“There is also the matter of animal cruelty, frequent illegal gambling, driving stolen vehicles and using red diesel.”
In October, the Crow was contacted by a farmer who said hare coursers were coming on to his land every week, and threatening his farm staff.
He said coursing was at its worst level in his 28 years farming in the area.
Sgt Bartlett said: “With the advent of the new season upon us, I would like to reassure farmers and those who live and work in rural areas that we will be putting on extra patrols in areas where hare coursing is likely to take place.
“I would also like to encourage anyone who suspects hare coursing to call us as soon as possible on the non-emergency number 101. If you witness hare coursing in progress dial 999.”
People caught taking part in illegal coursing can face fines of up to £5,000.
Have you been affected by hare coursing? Call 07785 616246 or email email@example.com.