Latest figures from Operation Galileo reveal a 41 per cent drop in reports of hare coursing across Lincolnshire in the last four months of 2018
South Holland farmers have welcomed a 41 per cent drop in reported hare coursing across Lincolnshire over the last four months of 2018.
Figures provided by Lincolnshire Police for Operation Galileo, the annual effort to tackle gangs who trespass on farmland to hunt hares with dogs, showed that 571 hare coursing incidents were reported in the county between September and December 2018.
This compares with 981 calls for the same period in 2017 and 1,216 incidents between September to December 2016 which, compared to 2018’s figures, shows a 53 per cent reduction.
Chief Inspector Phil Vickers, force lead for rural crime at Lincolnshire Police, said: “I’m happy with the figures and it’s an endorsement of the approach we’ve taken which is about prevention more than anything else.
“We’re writing to a number of our most regular offenders, on a regular basis, to inform them of some of the things we’re doing and some of the tactics we’re using.
“One of the things that has been really important to us is the force having taken the decision last year to seize dogs.
“We’ve been doing the same again this year but we’re also working on engagement, going to community meetings with the NFU and Country Land and Business Association, encouraging farmers to report incidents because we really need that information.”
One South Holland farmer, who asked not to be named, said: “We’ve had less of a problem this year, although hare coursing still exists and we still get them here.
“But it’s not as bad as it was before and my own view is that the police have taken a more proactive role in trying to apprehend hare coursers.
Chris Carter, of NFU South Holland branch, said: “Lincolnshire Police has been quite proactive about deterring hair coursers from coming to the county.
“It would seem that because of the vast amounts of reports to the police from the South Holland area, maybe we’re more vigilant about the problem.
“But it’s not just about hair coursing, it’s about rural crime in general.
“There’s been a prevalence of metal thefts and it’s causing real concern.”
NFU Holland (Lincs) county adviser Danny O’Shea said: “This really is an impressive reduction in offences and shows that Lincolnshire Police have cracked down on hare coursing in the county in a big way.
“We are now left with a hard-core element of hare coursers and the NFU will continue our close relationship with Lincolnshire Police, as well as Police and Crime Cmmissioner Marc Jones, on this issue to stamp out this appalling crime."
“In the meantime, we would appeal to the farming community to continue to report countryside crime to the police on 101 or the dedicated Crimestoppers number for rural crime 0800 783 0137.”