Warning to would-be hare coursers


- Credit: Archant

POLICE have issued a warning to would-be hare coursers as the harvesting period draws to a close in the fields of Crow country.

Officers from Hertfordshire Police’s Rural Operational Support Team (ROST) say anyone caught engaging in coursing will face stiff punishments.

Hare coursing – which has been illegal in the UK since 2005 – involves the pursuit of a hare with a greyhound or other form of sight hound. If the hare is caught by a dog it is usually killed.

Last year several incidents were reported around Royston, both in Hertfordshire and across the border in South Cambs.

Sergeant Jamie Bartlett, who leads the ROST, 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.

“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.”

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He added: “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.”

Anyone caught hare coursing could face a fine of up to £5,000 and even imprisonment.