Hare coursing suspects arrested after 90mph car chase

Six men have been arrested on suspicion of hare coursing following a high-speed police car chase and helicopter search on Wiltshire farmland.

The chase began at 2:30am on 3 February when police officers spotted two vehicles with the men and their dogs inside on Hackpen Hill near Beckhampton.

Suspects used high-powered lamps to try to blind pursuing officers as speeds hit 90mph along rural roads.

See also: What to do if you’re a victim of… hare coursing

Police lost sight of the cars but officers contained the area and the two vehicles were located on a byway in Broad Hinton.  

In a final desperate bid to get away, the suspected hare coursers used one of their cars to reverse ram a police vehicle before decamping and running off across fields.

But the chase finished when the police helicopter tracked down all six men, who were hiding in a field. All of the suspects were taken into police custody and their dogs and vehicles were seized.

Wiltshire Police superintendent Phil Staynings said the pursuit was extremely dangerous, with high speeds at times and vehicles heading the wrong way around roundabouts.

“I’m really pleased that the persistence of our officers paid off, and we now have six individuals in custody arrested on suspicion of hare coursing, dangerous driving and failing to stop,” said Supt Staynings.

“We continue to crack down on hare coursing in Wiltshire. Our message remains clear – if we suspect anyone of hare coursing, we will act swiftly and efficiently.”

New powers

The crackdown comes a month after the government announced proposals to step up the fight against hare coursers.

The proposals include:

  • Tougher penalties, including unlimited fines and up to six months’ imprisonment
  • Two new criminal offences:
    – Trespass with the intention of using a dog to search for or pursue a hare
    – Being equipped to trespass with the intention of using a dog to search for or pursue a hare.
  • New powers for the courts to make an order, on conviction, disqualifying an offender from owning or keeping a dog.
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