Warning as new hare coursing 'season' expected to begin in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire
Police are encouraging the public to do their part for rural communities and help tackle hare coursing.
The hare coursing season typically starts in September when fields have been harvested, however, the weather this year has meant many have already been cut and are now prime surfaces for the blood sport.
Over the past year (April 2018 – March 2019) police were called to 1,265 incidents. In the past month (July) the force control room received 34 calls to courses operating throughout east and south Cambridgeshire as well as Fenland. The figure is expected to rise over the coming months.
Hare coursing, illegal under the Hunting Act 2004, causes damage to crops, harms animals and threatens the rural community, often resulting in intimidation and in some cases violence.
In October last year four hare coursers were handed the first county court injunction in Cambridgeshire, banning them from entering any farm land from July until March.
DC Tom Nuttall said: “Hare coursing continues to be one of the biggest issues our rural communities face.
“Tackling it remains a priority for the Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT) and we will continue to do what we can to bring those responsible to justice but we need your help.
“The most obvious sign of hare coursing is a group of vehicles parked in a rural area with dogs, perhaps by a gateway to farmland or on a grass verge, and I would urge people to report any suspicions, no matter how insignificant they may seem.
“Those caught could face a criminal behaviour order, seizure of vehicles and other property, a fine and a driving ban.”
The appeal is part of our #SaferSummer campaign which aims to prevent crime and keep people safe during the school holidays.
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 taking place 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.
It is important people do not confront hare coursers or put themselves at risk.
If you have information about hare coursing and it is not currently happening, or have been a victim of the crime, call 101 or report online at http://www.cambs.police.uk/report.
If a crime is in progress call 999.
The number of hare coursing incidents in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough:
April 2018 – March 2019 – 1,265
April 2017 – March 2018 – 1,393
April 2016 – March 2017 – 1,069
April 2015 – March 2016 - 742