Senior police officer for Operation Galileo sets his sights on tackling hare coursing with 35 other forces nationally
The senior police officer tackling hare coursers preying on Lincolnshire has revealed his ambition to rid the county of the problem completely.
Chief Inspector Phil Vickers, force lead on rural crime for Lincolnshire Police, said he was "quite positive" about the tactics used against gangs who come to the county solely to hunt hares with dogs.
The success of Operation Galileo in Lincolnshire, with reports of the crime having dropped by 30 per cent across the county in 2017-18, has led to the force being asked to head up an effort against hare coursing across 35 police areas in England and Wales.
Chief Insp Vickers said: "Broadly speaking, the indications are that we've been quite successful in terms of prevention of hare coursing.
"We've learned some lessons over the last few months in terms of stopping offenders from coming to us.
"Our force now has a reputation, having made the decision to seize dogs and keep them, which leads me to believe that we can stop hare coursing."
A plan to find foster homes for dogs seized as part of Operation Galileo is to be modified, with police staff to be given the chance to look after them before rolling the scheme out to the public.
Chief Insp Vickers said: "Lincolnshire Police is taking the lead on hare coursing enforcement nationally and we're looking at using different legal powers that are associated with other types of crimes, including seizures of cash and mobile phones.
"What you will see over the next 12 months is a campaign of direct action, taking a national approach with the methods used in Lincolnshire by slowly trying them across 35 police forces that are suffering from hare coursing.
"Having seen a 30 per cent reduction in hare coursing last year, if we can have another significant reduction this year, I'll be very happy with that."