The next MP for South Holland and the Deepings will have to deal with a “frightened society in Deeping St Nicholas”.
Parish councillor David Branton made the claim during a question and answer sesssion with John Hayes, one of six candidates for the constituency at next month’s general election.
Mr Hayes, who hopes to be elected MP for the sixth time in 20 years, was a guest at the meeting where he talked about flytipping, speeding, the future of Littleworth Signal Box and the eventual reopening of its station.
But the issue of hare coursing dominated Mr Hayes’ speech in which he pledged to keep councillors informed of a new rural policing strategy being drawn up for Lincolnshire by Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones.
Mr Hayes said: “Whilst there has always been a problem with hare coursing, it has now reached a peak that has been previously unseen.
“The network of people involved has spiralled and grown very quickly, resulting in them acting with much greater impunity and becoming more hostile, more violent and more callous about what they do and how they do it.
There are people afraid to go out at night because of the hair coursing and we shouldn’t have to live in a society where people can’t go out of their own homesCoun David Branton, Vice Chairman, Deeping St Nicholas Parish Council
“I’m very well aware of it, not just particular to Deeping St Nicholas but extending widely across the Fens.”
Coun Branton said: “The intimidation and violence has got far worse than anything in my lifetime and we have a frightened society in Deeping St Nicholas.
“There are people afraid to go out at night because of the hair coursing and we shouldn’t have to live in a society where people can’t go out of their own homes.
“But that’s what we’ve got in Deeping St Nicholas.”
Mr Hayes revealed that talks between himself and the Home Office had removed any “blockage” from Lincolnshire Police buying nine new Ford Kuga 4x4s to be used as part of its Operation Galileo campaign against hare coursing.
But he said: “The way we deal with hare coursers once they are caught and brought before a court don’t seem to reflect its seriousness.”