Hare coursing police operation nets early gains

Insp Andy Ham and PC Nick Willeyof Operation Galileo with Lincolnshire NFU chairman Ian Stancer and county advisor Andrew Wilson.
Insp Andy Ham and PC Nick Willeyof Operation Galileo with Lincolnshire NFU chairman Ian Stancer and county advisor Andrew Wilson.

Eleven people are facing prosecution for illegal hare coursing in south Lincolnshire as police step up their fight against gangs targeting the area.

Six of those to appear in court are due to face charges relating to hare coursing in Holbeach after they were caught by police officers from the Operation Galileo team set up to stop gangs hunting hares on farmland in South Holland and other parts of the county.

A further seven people have been warned about hare coursing in south Lincolnshire and face having their vehicles, dogs and other equipment seized if they come back to the area.

The good news for farmers, landowners and other people employed in the farming sector comes ahead of an expected rise in hare coursing reports over the next four weeks.

Inspector Andy Ham of Operation Galileo said: “Things have been fairly quiet in terms of hare coursing incidents, but we had a result early on in the operation when we seized the dogs of one of the ringleaders from Lancashire and we haven’t heard from him since.

“Traditionally, the peak of the hare coursing season comes between late October and early November so I would encourage people who see any activity to ring 999 and ask for the Operation Galileo team.”

The NFU, Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick and John Hayes MP for South Holland and The Deepings are all behind the operation which resulted in 186 prosecutions for the 2012-13 hare coursing season.

Mr Hayes said: “I’ve discussed this many times over many years with the police in Lincolnshire and I strongly support Operation Galileo because I know how much distress it causes landowners.”