Police have reassured farmers in South Holland that its force-wide strategy to tackle hare coursing in the area is having a “positive impact”.
Farmers and landowners from the area worst hit by gangs of criminals who hunt hares with dogs met with Superintendent (Supt) Paul Timmins of Lincolnshire Police at a meeting in Spalding on Friday organised by NFU East Midlands.
The meeting at Springfields Events and Conference Centre was also attended by John Hayes, MP for South Holland and the Deepings, as well as Coun Stuart Tweedale, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire.
Coun Tweedale said: “I can understand that sometimes farmers can become a little frustrated but I thought that Supt Timmins answered the questions quite well and he even spoke to some of the farmers afterwards as well.
“Hare coursing is down on this time last year and, initially, the message has gone out about police taking the dogs and vehicles off hare coursers who are caught in Lincolnshire.”
Farmers at the meeting were also reminded of a new text messaging service, 80800 HARE, funded by the NFU and available to report hare coursing as it happens.
We are working closely with other forces to tackle this crime and although there are specific issues to sort out, we are doing things differently and trying to make things work betterSuperintendent Paul Timmins of Lincolnshire Police
Supt Timmins said: “We know that we won’t resolve all hare coursing matters, but we will have a positive impact and make a difference by seizing dogs and vehicles.
“Also, we are working closely with other forces to tackle this crime and although there are specific issues to sort out, we are doing things differently and trying to make things work better.
“Hare coursing is just one of hundreds of crimes happening in the force area every day so there has to be a balance struck in order that we can tackle every type of crime.”
Gordon Corner, NFU county adviser for Holland (Lincs), said: “Since Chief Inspector Jim Tyner has taken on responsibility for hare coursing last November, there has been a significant change in the police’s attitude compared to this time last year.
“There is, however, still a great deal to be done to deter hare coursers from coming into Lincolnshire.
“As well as further improvements in police communications, farmers and the rural community have a job to do in reporting every incident and helping the police to gather evidence.
“Therefore, we are urging everyone to keep the hare coursing text number, 80800 “HARE”, in their phones and to report everything ranging from a suspicious vehicle or group of people with dogs to actual hare coursing crimes.
“The more information the police have, the more likely they are to be able to seize dogs and vehicles before prosecuting these criminals.
“Hare coursers are dangerous people and want to carry out their illegal activities regardless of the damage they do or the crimes they commit.
“The continued threats and aggravation suffered by farmers and their families, as well as other members of the rural community, are unacceptable.
“NFU will continue to work closely with Lincolnshire Police and we are urging farmers and growers to play their part too by reporting hare coursers every time they come into Lincolnshire.”