Police seize suspected hare coursers’ dogs

Police seize the dogs of suspected hare coursers in Sutton St James.

Four people believed to be involved in hare coursing in Sutton St James were stopped by officers and forced to surrender their dogs.

They could not be linked to a substantive offence, so were issued Dispersal Notices.

The dogs were kept at police kennels until the expiry of the notices, when they were returned.

As well as the more commonly-used dispersal powers, the Act also gives a constable, who has given someone a direction to leave, the power to direct that person to surrender any item that the constable believes is likely to be used in behaviour that harasses, alarms or distresses a member of the public.

Chief Superintendent Mark Housley said: ‘We sometimes hear that dispersal powers simply push the problem from one county to another. In fact, we can disrupt possible hare coursing by seizing the dogs until the notice expires, usually at dusk.

“This means that those dogs could not take part in any hare coursing for the rest of that day. Where there is enough evidence for a prosecution we use different powers and apply to the courts for the dogs to be re-homed upon conviction.

“We will use every available piece of legislation to disrupt hare coursers and officers from our Rural Crime Team recently used their seizure powers under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to seize dogs.”

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