Hare coursing clampdown

By Shelley Wright

Scotland correspondent GRAMPIAN POLICE has pledged to maintain its increased presence in rural north-east Scotland after five men were charged in a clampdown on illegal hare coursing.

In the past few months, hare coursing has become an increasing problem in a number of areas in the Grampian region. Police and farmers started working together in a bid to catch those involved.

 Hare coursing was outlawed in Scotland under the Protection of Mammals (Scotland) Act, the same legislation that banned fox hunting.

On Saturday (Apr 9), Grampian Police launched Operation Hartley, targeting the Fasque Estate at Fettercairn. Since November last year, the estate has reported to police more than 20 separate incidents of illegal hare coursing on its land.

Constable David MacKinnon, Grampian Police wildlife crime officer, co-ordinated Operation Hartley. “Hare coursing on Fasque Estate and the Kincardine area in general has been a real problem over the past five months.

 “Fasque is run as a commercial estate where good quality shooting is enjoyed by fee-paying guests. Uninvited van-loads of people walking on to the land and chasing hares with lurcher dogs are not only putting themselves at risk, but they are committing an offence and jeopardising the commercial viability of the estate,” Constable MacKinnon said. I

f found guilty, the five who were arrested face up to six months imprisonment and the confiscation of any vehicles, dogs and other equipment used in the crimes.

NFU Scotland is working closely with Grampian Police to stamp out hare coursing. Jim Stewart, NFUS North East Region chairman, said: “The local farming community is not going to accept land being illegally used for hare coursing.”


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