Lincolnshire Police has revealed there were more than 1,000 incidents of hare coursing reported in the county during this year’s “season”.
The force received 1,048 reports between September 2019 and March 2020, an increase on the same period 12 months before (873 reports), but down on the figures for 2017-2018 and 2016-2017 – 1,365 and 1,965, respectively.
Chief Insp Phil Vickers, rural crime lead for Lincolnshire Police, said the past 12 months had been challenging for the county’s farmers and rural communities, with hare coursers travelling large distances to “trespass, cause damage and intimidate local people”.
Last year, the police relaunched Operation Galileo, which involves 12 police forces from across the country that share intelligence and information to target hare coursers.
Focus on prevention
Chief Insp Vickers said: “Our approach under Operation Galileo last season was to focus on prevention – stopping the offences from happening, making use of tactics that really affect offenders.
“We have been able to seize dogs and have them forfeited at court – this continues to be the sanction that has the greatest effect and makes Lincolnshire an unattractive place for offenders to visit.
“We are working with partners to secure a change in the law that give courts the powers they need to appropriately deal with hare coursing.”
The force said it has used drones and intelligence from farmers to help catch coursers.
“Farmers are routinely passing locations to our control room and giving the What3words location – that has helped us put our officers in the right place, and is a good example of us all changing our practices to prevent crime,” Chief Insp Vickers said.
What3words divides a location into a grid of 3x3m squares and assigns each one a unique three-word address.
Lincolnshire Police said it was grateful for the support from the NFU, Country Land and Business Association, and other local organisations.
Four charged in Scotland
Four men have been arrested and charged in connection with wildlife crime offences across the Scottish Borders, Midlothian, East Lothian and Stirling.
Between 1 March and 29 April, police officers received a number of reports of possible hare coursing activity in the Stirling, Haddington, Duns, Kelso, Gifford and Kippen areas.
Four men, aged 28, 51, 29 and 44, have been charged and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.