Police say their policy of seizing hare coursers’ dogs had led to a sharp reduction in the number of people coming to Lincolnshire to pursue the illegal activity.
Chief Insp Jim Tyner, the force lead for the anti-hare coursing Operation Galileo, said: “The total number of hare coursing incidents from September to end of January is 1,193 compared to 1,579 the same period last season.
“That’s a 24 per cent reduction – 386 less victims of hare coursing, at a time when every other force we are speaking to is experiencing an increase.
“About half of all hare coursing incidents are in South Holland.
“While there are still a hard core of people who continue to visit Lincolnshire for hare coursing, we believe that our policy of seizing dogs, supported by the courts granting forfeiture orders, is having a deterrent effect on many hare coursers.”
One South Holland farmer says the police figures are backed up by what the agricultural community have been witnessing on the ground.
He said: “We are really grateful to the police. It has been a massive improvement. The police have quadrupled their efforts in the last 12 months.
The farmer said one unintended consequence of the crackdown – and the police are not to blame – is that the hare coursers still coming to the county are the real hardcore criminals.
He said: “We have had police cars rammed, they have failed to stop for blue lights and they have driven like lunatics through our towns and villages.
“The reason they drive like hell is that they know the police officers in question won’t get the authority to continue the pursuit.”
He says speeding hare coursers aren’t in control of their vehicles and could easily kill someone or themselves.