Hare coursers arrested in Holbeach St Mark

Enquiries are ongoing after car recovered from river in Pode Hole on Friday.
Enquiries are ongoing after car recovered from river in Pode Hole on Friday.
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Hare coursers stopped by police officers in Holbeach St Marks this morning (Wednesday December 6).

Hare coursing continues to be an issue of concern for rural communities. Last month, Lincolnshire Police recorded 306 incidents of hare coursing, giving a three-month total of 690 incidents, compared to 803 over the same period in 2016.

This equates to an average of 10 incidents a day in November, although this varies considerably. Some days there are no reports of hare coursing and other days there have been up to 24 incidents reported.

Chief Superintendent Mark Housley said: “We recognise the impact that hare coursing has on farmers, their staff, their families, farming businesses and our wider rural communities. Operation Galileo is in place to tackle hare coursing and wider rural community safety. We are grateful for every call from our community as it helps us plan our patrols and build up an intelligence picture.”

Police have asked for the pubilc’s help in tracking down offenders:

• The most obvious sign is groups of vehicles parked in a rural area, perhaps by a gateway to farmland, on a grass verge, on a farm track or bridle path.

• They will usually be estate cars, four wheel drives or vans. It will be obvious looking inside whether there is evidence of dogs or not.

• They often travel in convoy, with vans at the front and rear containing ‘minders’.

• They will often use binoculars to spot hares.

• Coursers will often walk along the edge of a field to frighten a hare into the open.

So far this year there have been:

• 30 men arrested or reported for summons;

• 40 hare coursers’ dogs seized;

• 15 hare coursers’ vehicles seized;

• 24 Dispersal Notices issued (This is used when we can’t prove an offence for court, but we give formal directions to leave the county. If this is breached the person is arrested).

Six men are currently under investigation and will be arrested once evidence has been gathered.

NFU’s Lincolnshire (Holland) county adviser, Danny O’Shea commented: “It is good to hear that Lincolnshire Police statistics show that there have been fewer incidents of hare coursing so far this season, but from a local perspective, we are hearing from our members that there has been an upturn in coursing activities, especially in the last three weeks.

“We are keen to see Lincolnshire Police take action against these criminals and send the uncompromising message to hare coursers that they are not welcome in our county.

“It is good news that action is being taken, and NFU will continue to work with Lincolnshire Police to tackle these frightening and ruthless criminals.

“We want Lincolnshire Police to continue to improve their response rates to reports of coursing; we must see greater conviction rates and tougher sentences and increased numbers of dogs, vehicles and the proceeds of crime seized.”

“We will be urging our members this winter to continue to support the police by reporting hare coursing incidents at all times to ensure that the force has the best intelligence and the best chance of ending the epidemic of coursing in our county. NFU will continue to represent our members’ views and concerns at the highest level with the Police on both hare coursing and wider rural community safety issues.”

Report crimes on 101 or if a crime is in progress, use 999. Provide as much information to the call handler as you are able: vehicle makes, colours and registration plates, direction of travel or exact location, number of people (and dogs) involved. Information on incidents is vital to build a picture of crimes in local areas and it helps the police to allocate resources and to prevent crimes taking place in future.