Cambs. 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 have 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 Cambridgeshire’s first county court injunction, banning them from entering any farm land from July until March.
Hare coursing continues to be one of the biggest issues our rural communities face alongside thefts and fly tipping.
Tackling it remains a priority for the Rural Crime Action Team and they will continue to do what they can to bring those responsible to justice but they 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 the team would urge people to report any suspicions, no matter how insignificant it 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 their #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.
Its 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.cambs.police.uk/report.
If a crime is in progress call 999.
DC Tom Nuttall
Rural Crime Action Team