Hare coursers branded ‘hardened criminals’ ahead of new season

Ben Underwood, CLA East regional director.
Ben Underwood, CLA East regional director.
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A campaign group for farmers and landowners has urged police to make hare coursing a high priority ahead of an annual campaign to tackle it.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) East branch, which represents 32,000 members who own and manage farmland across South Holland, Lincolnshire and six other counties, has warned of the “huge impact” of hare coursing on rural communities across the country,

In South Holland alone between September 2015 and March 2016, more than 900 reports of hare coursing were received by police, more than double that of any other district council area in Lincolnshire.

CLA East regional director Ben Underwood said: “Reducing crime, and the fear of it, is central to improving the quality of life for people living in our rural communities.

“Unfortunately, many find their lives blighted by it every day and so we need the police to work effectively with farmers, landowners and those living in the countryside in order to send out a strong message to criminals, such as hare coursers, that they are not welcome in the county.

“Hare coursing, which has a huge impact on rural communities and conservation efforts, has reached unacceptable levels in the south of Lincolnshire and hare coursers themselves are hardened criminals, engaged in illegal betting which often involves large sums of money.

Hare coursing has reached unacceptable levels in the south of Lincolnshire and hare coursers themselves are hardened criminals, engaged in illegal betting which often involves large sums of money

CLA East regional director Ben Underwood

“They are prepared to use violence if disturbed and many of our members have been victims.

“As a result, we are pleased that Lincolnshire Police’s strategy for hare coursing is built upon increased engagement with rural communities and making it easier for people to report incidents.”

Lincolnshire Police’s annual Operation Galileo operation against hare coursing is due to be launched today.”

Fear and loathing on South Holland farmlands of a hare coursing tide of terror