Air and land operation to combat the ‘scourge of hare coursing’ in south east Lincolnshire

NFU Holland (Lincs) county adviser Gordon Corner.
NFU Holland (Lincs) county adviser Gordon Corner.
  • Police unveil wider range of weaponry to protect farmers and their land with Operation Galileo

The full scale of arsenal at the disposal of police taking on hare coursing gangs preying on South Holland farmland has been displayed in the area.

Police involved in Operation Galileo, a countywide effort to disrupt and arrest gangs who use dogs to hunt hares and other wild animals in Lincolnshire, will now have the use of drones to track down people involved in a practice made illegal by the 2004 Hunting Act.

Use of the unmanned flying aircraft, an idea suggested by NFU Holland (Lincs) branch in an interview with the Lincolnshire Free Press in May, has come about as a result of Lincolnshire Police joining with Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Northamptonshire forces to tackle hare coursing.

Chief Inspector Jim Tyner, force lead on rural crime for Lincolnshire Police, said: “All of our local policing resources are being deployed for Operation Galileo and we are exploring the operational opportunities surrounding the use of drones.

“There will also be increased cross-border working with neighbouring forces like Cambridgeshire and Norfolk Constabularies, in addition to the existing regional collaboration with other East Midlands forces like Northamptonshire who demonstrated their new drone capability in South Holland on Thursday.”

In May, Donington farmer Chris Wray said: “It would only have to happen once or twice before word got out in the hare coursing community, so the use of drones is the right publicity to put out by the police.”

The launch of Operation Galileo in South Holland, with (front) Lincolnshire PCC Marc Jones, Chief Inspector David Buckley of Norfolk Constabulary, Chief Inspector Deborah Clark of Boston and South Holland, Chief Inspector Jim Tyner, force lead for rural crime, Lincolnshire Police and Deputy PCC Stuart Tweedale, along with NFU and police representatives.  Photo by Tim Wilson.

The launch of Operation Galileo in South Holland, with (front) Lincolnshire PCC Marc Jones, Chief Inspector David Buckley of Norfolk Constabulary, Chief Inspector Deborah Clark of Boston and South Holland, Chief Inspector Jim Tyner, force lead for rural crime, Lincolnshire Police and Deputy PCC Stuart Tweedale, along with NFU and police representatives. Photo by Tim Wilson.

Another weapon taken up by the police after talks with farmers is the seizure of dogs regularly used by hare coursers, including greyhounds, whippets and lurchers.

Chief Inspector Tyner said: “Operation Galileo continues and I remain determined that we use all legislative powers available to deal with hare coursing. This season we’re focusing on seizing dogs because the farmers we’ve spoken to have said that it’s the biggest deterrent.”

New text service

A new text reporting service has been introduced as the fight against hare coursing, branded “hardened criminals” by one rural pressure group, enters the technological age.

We are very keen to see the 80800 text service well-used because it will allow details of cars, number plates and dogs to be sent in to the police

Gordon Corner, county adviser, NFU Holland (Lincolnshire)

Both farmers and the general public with information about vehicles, most commonly 4x4 models, dogs and gangs of hare coursers in the South Holland area can text the word ‘Hare’ to 80800, followed by the information they wish to give police.

The service has been funded by the NFU and its Holland (Lincs) adviser Gordon Corner said: “We are very keen to see the 80800 text service well-used because it will allow details of cars, number plates and dogs to be sent in to the police.

“The other good thing about 
Operation Galileo this year is that Lincolnshire Police has got a researcher to collate and share information about hare coursers with neighbouring forces.”