Almost 100 cases of hare coursing in South Holland have been reported over the last three months, Lincolnshire Police have confirmed.
An effort to tackle gangs from as far away as North Wales and the West Midlands who travel to the area to hunt hares with dogs has cut the number of reported incidents by about 20 per cent, according to Inspector Andy Ham who heads up Operation Galileo.
Between September and December this year, police received 94 reports of hare coursing in the area, compared to 120 for the same period in 2011.
Operation Galileo, a countywide initiative where a team of officers stop and question people suspected of involvement in the illegal activity, has also seen two vehicles seized, one dog recovered under animal welfare powers and slip ropes confiscated in the South Holland area.
Inspector Ham said his team had made a “significant impact” in combating the problem, with 76 people being taken to court for hare coursing related matters across the county.
But he warned that hare coursing could not be wiped out completely and help from the public was still needed to catch hare coursing gangs that trespass on farmland in the autumn after crops have been harvested.”
“The approach we’ve taken this year in response to hare coursing activity has really paid dividends so far and we’ve made a significant in the last few months of the operation,” Inspector Ham said.
“Dozens and dozens of people have been stopped, searched and given some words of advice, but we haven’t eradicated the problem and it would be naive to think that we could.
“South Holland is part of the main hotspot area in Lincolnshire and we rely heavily on the help of the public to be our eyes and ears in the countryside here.”