Police use drone to swoop on hare coursing suspects

Six men have been stopped by police on suspicion of hare coursing after a drone spotted them in a Yorkshire field.

Humberside Police’s roads policing team tweeted that the men had been snapped in a field on Weghill Road in the village of Preston yesterday (Sunday, 7 January).

The men were interviewed and reported for the offences by police at the weekend as part of Operation Galileo, the force’s campaign to tackle illegal hare coursing.

See also: Hare coursing – what you need to know if your farm is targeted

The operation uses new technology, including drones and night-vision, to catch culprits committing crimes in rural areas.

The Humberside team also reported following a poaching vehicle out of the force area, which led them to a BMW X3 and Subaru off-road and “five of their associates” hare coursing at the side of the A19 at Chapel Haddlesey.

The Subaru had already received a Section 59 warning (for vehicles used in a manner causing alarm, distress or annoyance) so the vehicle was seized by police.

Police crackdown

The team’s success with Operation Galileo on 7 January was summarised by a subsequent tweet: “Two vehicles seized, three section 59 warnings issued, eight section 35 warnings issued (power of dispersal), eight men interviewed and reported for hare coursing; another two men stopped.”

Hare coursing is the pursuit of hares using hounds. Participants spread in a line across a field and disturb the hare from its home. They then release their dogs to give chase. A bet is made on which dog will catch or turn the hare first.

The Hunting Act 2004 made hare coursing illegal. It is illegal to participate, attend, knowingly facilitate or permit land to be used for a hare coursing event. Anyone convicted of the offence can be fined up to £5,000 by a magistrates’ court.

If you see an event taking place on your farm, the police advise you call 101 immediately and not to approach the participants.

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