Police field big rise in calls on hare coursing

Police officers on hare coursing duty
Police officers on hare coursing duty
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There has been a massive increase in the number of people dealt with by police in relation to hare coursing.

During the traditionally peak months of September to March 176 men have been arrested or reported for summons by Lincolnshire Police, compared to 65 for the same period over 2014/15 - an increase of 170 per cent.

In addition, 19 vehicles and three dogs have been seized as part of Operation Galileo.

A further 93 men have been dealt with by other disruption tactics and enforcement action such as Direction to Leave and traffic offences.

Reviewing calls over the same period, there have been 2,169 reported incidents of hare coursing, compared to 987 during the previous season. This represents a 120 per cent increase in hare coursing incidents across Lincolnshire and is broadly in line with what other local police forces have experienced.

The worst hit area has been South Holland, which recorded 937 incidents - 43 per cent of all recorded.

In November and December, the busiest months, there was an average of 15 hare coursing incidents per day. One of the busiest days showed 30 incidents of hare coursing on a Monday in December. Some of these incidents were duplicates of other calls, but police say they are still useful for comparison purposes.

Chief Inspector Jim Tyner, force lead for rural crime, said: “Operation Galileo is here to stay. This huge increase in incidents of hare coursing shows the significant impact on our rural communities.

“Despite competing policing demands, we have continued to provide a response and this is reflected in the high number of men dealt with for hare coursing offences.

“In partnership with representatives from the NFU (National Farmers’ Union), the CLA (Country Land & Business Association) and other agencies, I am now looking at our tactics for the next season, where we will be focussing on the seizure of dogs used in hare coursing. This has been shown to have the biggest impact on those who chose to come to our county to take part in this illegal act.”