A dedicated police team tackling hare coursing in South Holland is claiming success after a 28 per cent drop in the number of reported cases over the last year.
Figures released by Lincolnshire Police’s Operation Galileo team showed the number of incidents fell by 126 from 452 in 2011 to 326 in 2012.
During the hare coursing season itself between September and March, reported cases dropped by 32 per cent from 418 in 2011 to just 284 in 2012, a decline of 134.
So far in 2013, there have been 71 reported cases with 175 people investigated by police, 82 people given warnings and courts handing down fines between £75 and £600.
One person has been banned from keeping animals for five years, two people barred for three years from entering any land in Lincolnshire with dogs, 14 vehicles seized and six dogs recovered on animal welfare grounds.
Inspector Andy Ham, head of Operation Galileo, said: “The statistics speak for themselves, both in relation to the number of incidents reported in the first place and the number of prosecutions.
“We’re pleased because we’ve made some real progress and the feedback from those most affected by hare coursing, including farmers, landowners and gamekeepers, as well as members of the public, has been exceptionally positive.
“We anticipate running the same operation during the next hare coursing season.”