Police targeting hare coursers

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Crooks who invade county fields for illegal hare coursing are getting a stark message from police: “You are not welcome in Lincolnshire.”

On Friday police held the annual launch of Operation Galileo, which last year saw 163 prosecutions for hare coursing and has driven down the number of criminals willing to take the risk of coming to Lincolnshire.

Police say evidence shows that hare coursers bring other forms of criminal activity to the county.

All but one of the 163 people prosecuted last year had previous criminal convictions.

Assistant chief constable Peter Davies said: “Last year we saw fewer incidents of hare coursing and we want to reduce that figure further.

“Operation Galileo is about letting criminals know we are out there and letting our communities know that we will protect them.”

Chief Insp Stuart Brinn revealed that officers will be using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) in the fight against hare coursing.

He said: “Hare coursing, as well as being illegal, causes disruption and alarm to members of our rural communities.

“ANPR plays an important role in helping us to track suspects as they come into the county.”

Police say hare coursers damage the land.

Officers are asking the public to help by calling 101 to report suspicious activity as it happens.

They are asking residents to take note of car registrations, times and locations.

A spokesman said: “Even information such as the make, colour and direction of travel of vehicles can be extremely valuable to us in the fight against hare coursing.”