Cambridgeshire police clamp down on hare coursing as season is set to start

Cambridgeshire's Rural Crime Action Team

Cambridgeshire's Rural Crime Action Team - Credit: Archant

“Don’t come hare coursing in Cambridgeshire” is the clear message from local police as they look to clamp down on the activity.

The hare coursing season traditionally starts in September and combating it is a priority of the county’s Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT).

Between last November and February this newspaper reported on at least nine incidents of hare coursing across East Cambridgeshire and Fenland - the bulk of them were in the Soham area.

In fact police said for the end of last year and the first few months of this year incidents of hare coursing were three times higher compared to previous years.

At the beginning of April police announced they were re-forming the specialist RCAT in response to community concerns.

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The RCAT combats hare coursing and poaching, as well as using specialist knowledge to deal with other aspects of rural crime including plant/tractor theft, arson, wildlife crime and illegal raves.

Hare coursing causes damage to crops, harms animal welfare and threatens the rural economy. At times it can result in intimidation and even violence.

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Those caught hare coursing could face a criminal behaviour order, seizure of vehicles and other property, a fine and a driving ban.

Officers will be conducting regular patrols in areas known to be targeted by coursers and will be providing a swift response to reports from the rural community.

In addition to this, signage will be placed in previously targeted areas to assist prosecution and ensure people are aware the activity will not be tolerated.

Members of the rural community are urged not to confront people hare coursing, but to report ongoing incidents by calling 999.

Chief Inspector James Sutherland said: “Our message is simple – don’t come coursing in Cambridgeshire. Driving hare coursing out of the county is a priority for the Rural Crime Action Team and we will do all we can to catch those responsible and bring them to justice.”

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