A group of farmers in South Holland are warning police that they plan to take on hare coursing gangs themselves after two attacks in the area.
One farmer claimed to have come under a hail of rocks thrown by a gang of suspected hare coursers who were cornered on land in Deeping Fen on Wednesday.
According to the farmer, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, police arrived ten minutes after the gang fled.
On Thursday, another group of suspected hare coursers were seen on the same stretch of land and when farmers tried to block their escape, the gang were said to have driven across crops with a piece of concrete attached to one of the vehicles.
The group of farmers who spoke to the Free Press, on condition of anonymity, chose not to give details of their plans to tackle hare coursing themselves.
But one of them said: “The police are totally letting us down with meaningless words.
“We’ve been to numerous meetings and spent an enormous amount of time discussing this problem of hare coursing. But we get no further, so the time for talking is over and we’re going to take our own action. We’re mobilising our own resources and if that falls the wrong side of the law, so be it.”
The farmer who was confronted by hare coursers between 3.30pm and 4pm on Wednesday said: “There were two cars, with nine people in them, hare coursing over ours and our neighbour’s land.
“We saw them there and then liaised with each other to block off the exits.
“Then we phoned the police who said ‘We don’t know whether we can respond or not because we don’t have the resources’.
We have to be realistic about being able to attend every report of hare coursing when police resources are needed for more serious incidentsInspector Colin Haigh of Lincolnshire Police
“However, the police rang back to say that they’ll be on their way after dealing with a stolen car in Fleet.
“Meanwhile, the hare coursers were cornered in a field so they drove straight at me, picked up some rocks and threw them at my vehicle, with me in it.
“I had to let them off the land because I was afraid for my safety.
“They got away and the police arrived ten minutes after they’d gone, when it was nearly dark.”
On Thursday, the farmers claimed that another “team” of hare coursers came onto land in Deeping Fen at about 11.20am.
Another farmer said: “We managed to block all the gateways off, so they decided to drive through my garden to escape, dragging a piece of concrete out onto the main (A1175) road.
“It’s a relatively recent attitude with hare coursers now where they drive all over the fields, chewing up the crops and even going onto one of the other farms to put a chain round one of the gates and pulling it out.
“The police complain about efficiency, but Lincolnshire Police is the most inefficient force with what it has.
“We acknowledge the fact that they don’t have enough resources but there’s a gulf between them and us because they don’t speak to us when we can help them.”
Inspector Colin Haigh of Lincolnshire Police said: “We are committed to tackling rural crime and hare coursing while balancing our response to other calls for service.
“Howver, we have to be realistic about being able to attend every report of hare coursing when police resources are needed for more serious incidents.
“For example, a serious traffic collision that may involve the loss of life will always take priority over a possible report of hare coursing.
“I want to reassure all our communities that Lincolnshire police will continue to target people who visit Lincolnshire with the sole purpose of committing crime, whatever form that takes.”