A police force recorded more than 300 incidents of hare coursing in just one month – the equivalent to 10 a day.
In November, Lincolnshire Police said there were 306 incidents of hare coursing, giving a three-month total of 690 incidents.
This, however, is a drop compared with 803 incidents recorded over the same period in 2016.
Some days there were no reports of hare coursing, but on others there up to 24 incidents were reported.
— Lincs Rural Crime (@LincsRuralCrime) December 3, 2017
Although the figures remain high, the NFU said it was encouraged to see that Operation Galileo, the force’s campaign to tackle hare coursing, was working to reduce incidents in the county.
Danny O’Shea, an NFU county adviser in Lincolnshire, said: “We are keen to see Lincolnshire Police take action against these criminals and send the uncompromising message to hare coursers that they are not welcome in our county.
“It is good news that action is being taken, and the NFU will continue to work with Lincolnshire Police to tackle these frightening and ruthless criminals.”
To tackle hare coursing in Lincolnshire, the NFU wants:
- Police to improve response rates to reports of incidents
- Increased number of dogs, vehicles and proceeds of crime seized
- Greater conviction rates and tougher sentences for criminals
The NFU is also urging farmers to report all incidents of hare coursing this winter to police to ensure officers have the best intelligence and chance of ending this epidemic.
Police forces across the UK are using social media to engage with farmers and the public to increase awareness of illegal hare coursing activity.
This is the state of our cars after pursuing a Grand Cherokee Jeep that was suspected of Hare Coursing & causing criminal damage near Buckland. The vehicle has front & rear end damage, it now in the Essex area near Clavering. If seen please call 999. pic.twitter.com/Kjes6fuAEO
— E Herts Rural Police (@EHertsRrlPolice) December 3, 2017
Meanwhile, in Cambridgeshire, police are using social media to connect with the public and gather intelligence of hare coursing incidents.
Following a post on Facebook about a suspected hare coursing incident near Witchford, officers from East Cambridgeshire held a Q&A session with the public to gather information and answer questions.
Hare coursing is a rural crime where greyhounds or other dogs are used to chase, catch and kill hares, with large sums of money often wagered on the outcome. It is illegal under the 2014 Hunting Act.
Levels of hare coursing increase significantly after harvest, when large areas of arable land are cleared.
Anyone with information about hare coursing should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you see hare coursers operating, call 999.