Cambridgeshire facing possible upsurge in hare coursing as farmers begin clearing land during this year’s harvest
- Credit: Archant
An organisation that represents many Cambridgeshire land owners has warned of the risk of an upsurge in hare coursing.
The Country Landowners Association (CLA) in eastern England says hare coursers could return as farmers begin clearing their land of standing crops during this year’s harvest.
CLA East Regional Director Ben Underwood said: “Hare coursing is a rural crime where dogs are used to chase, catch and kills hares, with those involved often betting large sums of money on the outcome.
“Levels of hare coursing can increase significantly after harvest when large areas of arable land are cleared, making it easier to travel across fields.”
Mr Underwood said coursers take advantage of the wide open spaces, trespassing on private land in order to set their dogs on to hares – often betting thousands of pounds on the resulting chase.
He said that CLA East has even heard reports of hare coursing being streamed live on mobile phones with people watching the stream online.
Mr Underwood said: “Hare coursing is an abhorrent crime that many of our members have either been victims of, or live in fear of.
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“Coursers often use threatening and intimidating behaviour, and in some cases violence, if they are approached which is wholly unacceptable.”
One CLA member in the eastern region, who wishes to remain anonymous, had a family member assaulted recently when he encountered a group of hare coursers on his farm.
He said: “As soon as we have used the combine harvesters to clear our land we have groups of hare coursers arriving and taking part in this illegal activity. We live in fear of being targeted as we know how vicious the people that take part in hare coursing can be. We’ve got the scars to show for it.
“We have blocked gates and dug ditches around our fields to try to deter the hare coursers but we’re still being targeted on a daily basis. Those taking part in this activity are completely lawless and it is having a devastating impact on us personally and on the brown hare population in our region.”
Cambridgeshire Police Chief Inspector James Sutherland said: “Hare coursing is totally unacceptable and Cambridgeshire Constabulary is committed to maintaining a dedicated Rural Crime Action Team to help combat it.”