Cambridgeshire police seize nearly 100 vehicles in 12 months in hare coursing crackdown

Cambridgeshire police have seized nearly 100 vehicles in 12 months as they continue to crackdown on hare coursers in the county.

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 4:28 pm
The rural crime team

Over the past year (April 2020 to March 2021) the team have responded to 1,196 incidents of hare coursing, a reduction of 16 per cent from the previous year and the lowest since 2014/15.

They have seized 93 vehicles, issued 138 Community Protection Warnings, issued 17 Community Protection Notices, issued 165 dispersal notices and seized and rescued 20 dogs.

A further 23 people have been summoned to court.

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

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

Sergeant Craig Flavell, who leads the team, said: “Hare coursing remains one of the biggest crimes to affect our rural communities and the team have worked hard to achieve some exceptional results.

“This year we’ve seen our biggest reduction in incidents since we reformed in 2016 but we’re not complacent and will continue to tackle those offending, drive hare coursing out of the county and bring those responsible to justice.

“We’re now focusing on a summer of proactive enforcement and warrants whilst continuing to support other areas of the force.”

The Rural Crime Team (RCAT) comprises nine officers and staff working across the county. As well as hare coursing they combat theft, heritage crime, hunting, rural and wildlife crime. They work alongside partner agencies including the local and county councils, RSPCA, Environment Agency and Crown Prosecution Service.