Surge in hare coursing acts

Hare coursing signs put up by farmers in and around Crowland with rural and wildlife officer PC Nick Willey and NFU (Holland) Lincolnshire branch Ian Stancer (back left).  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Hare coursing signs put up by farmers in and around Crowland with rural and wildlife officer PC Nick Willey and NFU (Holland) Lincolnshire branch Ian Stancer (back left). Photo by Tim Wilson.
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Police across south Lincolnshire are dealing with a wave of hare coursing activity across the area, with 15 reported cases in the last three days.

Five men from Surrey were arrested in Dunsby, near Bourne, at about 11am yesterday (Wednesday) and their vehicle was seized just four days after another gang from the same county were stopped and their 4x4 seized by police in Cradge Bank, Spalding, on Sunday.

There were also reports of hare coursing on Monday when police made public the descriptions of a blue Freelander, Green estate and black Honda CRV they were looking for as the hunting season hits its peak.

There have also been reports of a Heckington resident being threatened by hare coursers when she confronted them and was warned they would burn down her stables.

Sleaford Rural South Neighbourhood Policing Team Leader Pc Martin Green, who covers Heckington and has worked with the anti-hare coursing teams in the past, said: “Incidents of hare coursing are on the rise and we have seen a dramatic increase in incidents that have been reported to the police.

“There will be many more incidents that have not been reported. Where landowners, farmers, etc. come across hare coursers they are requested to observe them, obtaining as much information as is possible, such as vehicle descriptions and registration numbers, include direction of travel and if they move off let the police know. They should not be confronted or obstructed as this is when threats and damage are done in an attempt to get away.

Commenting on the case at Heckington he said: “Meeting her and assuming that she would call the police they have clearly attempted to intimidate her by making such threats.

“ery few incidents of retaliation are known by the police. It simply doesn’t happen.”

Chief Inspector Jim Tyner lead officer on rural crime for Lincolnshire Police, said: “I recognise the immense impact that hare coursing has on our rural communities.

“We continue to have Operation Galileo in place to respond to reports of hare coursing which is often linked to violent behaviour, thereby raising concerns amongst farmers and rural communities.

“But instead of having a team of officers who were expected to respond to incidents across the 2,687 square miles of Lincolnshire, we have equipped and skilled our local neighbourhood officers in the powers and legislation which relate to hunting with dogs.”

The surge in hare coursing comes despite a campaign by police, farmers and landowners to highlight the crime which carries a maximum £5,000 fine.

Ben Underwood of the Country, Land and Business Association, said: “Hare coursers trespass on private land to carry out this illegal activity, with no consideration for landowners’ property and crops and ready to use violence if disturbed.”