Police ‘raise our game’ to cut hare coursing
A 25 per cent drop in hare coursing across South Holland and Boston has come as police had to “raise our game” to protect farmers.
The admission from Lincolnshire Police deputy chief constable Craig Naylor came after the publication of results for Operation Galileo, the force’s annual campaign against gangs hunting hares illegally.
Lincolnshire Police reported 752 cases of hare coursing in South Holland and Boston from September 2017 to March 2018, compared to 1,009 reports in 2016-17, a fall of 257.
Mr Naylor said: “We have had to raise our game to tackle what had been an increasing problem in Lincolnshire and these figures show our commitment to tackling rural crime.
“Criminals no longer see Lincolnshire as an easy target as they know we will seize their dogs which are worth thousands of pounds to them.
“We had some fantastic results, catching coursers in the act with the police drone, permanently rehoming dogs, getting Criminal Behaviour Orders served on offenders which prevent them from coming back to the county with dogs and harsher fines.
Criminals no longer see Lincolnshire as an easy target as they know we will seize their dogs which are worth thousands of pounds to them
“I am pleased with this progress and we are already planning to build on this for next season as we encourage our farming community to continue working with us.
“We thank all of them for their ongoing support in sharing information and our interest in reducing this vile crime.”
Superintendent Mark Housley, force lead on rural crime, said: “In 2017, we introduced the Lincolnshire Rural Community Safety Plan and, as the lead for rural policing in the county, I am pleased with the significant success achieved in one of our most challenging areas, namely hare coursing.
“This success has allowed us to engage with key partners across the rural community to identify travelling criminals and whilst we have focused on hare coursing, we are aware that in tackling this and travelling crime generally, we tackle the wider issues.
“We also recognise that as the hare coursing season closes, other issues come to the fore which include theft, burglary, rogue traders, road safety and overnight poaching.
“As a force, we are now putting in place plans to address these issues.”