Cambridgeshire facing possible upsurge in hare coursing as farmers begin clearing land during this year's harvest

PUBLISHED: 14:00 10 August 2017 | UPDATED: 14:00 10 August 2017

Hare coursing has soared in Cambridgeshire in recent years

Hare coursing has soared in Cambridgeshire in recent years

The League Against Cruel Sports

An organisation that represents many Cambridgeshire land owners has warned of the risk of an upsurge in hare coursing.

Vehicle confiscated after hare coursing in ThorneyVehicle confiscated after hare coursing in Thorney

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.

Hare coursingHare coursing

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.

“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.

31 jan 2015 - police nab four men for suspected hare coursing at Grandford Drive, March and seize their car which could end up beign crushed31 jan 2015 - police nab four men for suspected hare coursing at Grandford Drive, March and seize their car which could end up beign crushed

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.”

These two dogs were abandoned between Earith and Haddenham when officers from the police's Rural Crime Action Team attended an incident of hare coursing.These two dogs were abandoned between Earith and Haddenham when officers from the police's Rural Crime Action Team attended an incident of hare coursing.

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