A national campaign to highlight crimes against animals and wildife is under way, with support from police in Lincolnshire.
National Wildlife Crime Week, an effort to increase public awareness of different types of animal crime and how to prevent it, runs until Sunday.
Each day, police will be making people aware of the laws protecting animals such as fish, deer, badgers and bats.
It started yesterday with a look at hare coursing, a month after confirmation from Lincolnshire Police that it had disbanded its Operation Galileo team which concentrated on catching gangs involved in the crime.
PC Nick Willey, rural and wildlife crime officer for Lincolnshire Police, said: “Even though we haven’t got the dedicated Operation Galileo team, we are still very dedicated to fighting hare coursing and other poaching-related offences.
“Over the last three seasons, the team was very active in dealing with poaching issues and the officers very hard in contributing to a decrease in rural crime.”
Figures obtained from Lincolnshire Police under a Freedom of Information request showed that between 2011 and 2014, just over 2,400 incidents of hare coursing were reported across the county.
Within the same three-year period, reported incidents of hare coursing dropped by almost 84 per cent from 1,255 in 2011 to just 203 in 2014.
PC Willey said: “I’m a firm believer that Operation Galileo was a success, but police has changed dramatically and with budgetary constraints, we have to work with what we’ve got.
“But I’m still passionate about the issue of wildlife crime and by working with colleagues within the police service, along with partner agencies, the Special Constabulary, neighbourhood policing teams and PCSOs, I’m confident that we can still make an impact and we’re still trying to combat this crime.”
To report hair coursing, deer poaching, badger digging and other wildlife crime, call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.