Police call for the public's help to crack down on hare coursing in the Fens and East Cambs

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 July 2018

A police operation against hare coursers

A police operation against hare coursers

Archant

People are being urged to keep an eye out in rural communities and reporting hare coursing incidents to the police.

The hare coursing season traditionally begins in September when fields across Cambridgeshire have been harvested and ploughed, making them the perfect ground for the illegal blood sport.

However, last year saw the spike in offences start in July.

Tom Nuttall, detective constable from the Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT) said: “Hare coursing remains one of the biggest crimes affecting our rural communities, particularly in Fenland, East Cambridgeshire and South Cambridgeshire.

“The most obvious sign of hare coursing is a group of vehicles parked in a rural area, perhaps by a gateway to farmland, on a grass verge, on a farm track or bridle path, and I ask people to report any suspicions.

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

“Driving hare coursing out of the county is a priority for RCAT and we will do all we can to catch those responsible and bring them to justice.”

Hare coursing, illegal under the Hunting Act 2004, causes damage to crops, harms animal welfare and threatens the rural community. It can result in intimidation and even violence.

Last year police were called to 1,393 incidents of hare coursing, an increase of 24 per cent per cent.

Landowners are urged to consider blocking entrances to their fields with ditches, fencing or trees or even barriers like barrels filled with concrete.

• Anyone who sees hare coursing is asked to contact police immediately on 999 and provide officers with a description of the people involved, any registration numbers and vehicle descriptions and the location and direction of travel.

Police say it’s important people don’t confront hare coursers or put themselves at risk.

If you have information about hare coursing and it’s not currently happening, or have been a victim of the crime, please call 101 or report online at www.contactcambspolice.uk/report.

If a crime is in progress call 999.

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