Farmers’ fears about violent crime

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Lincolnshire’s farmers have told a Government Minister about the level of violence used against them by criminals involved in hare-coursing.

Farmers from across the county met Policing Minister Brandon Lewis MP at Dogdyke near Coningby last Thursday.

The visit was arranged by Louth and Horncastle MP Victoria Atkins

Ms Atkins said she had invited Mr Lewis so he could hear first hand about the issue of crime in rural areas - and the impact of funding issues on policing operations.

She said farmers told Mr Lewis about the a number of issues - including the threat of violence.

Ms Atkins said: “We have been very keen to emphasise the challenges of policing in a rural county, including the distances police and other emergency services have to cover and the fact that, although it is a rural area, it does have challenges when it comes to crime.

“For example, we have been particularly moved by the accounts of farmers when it comes to hare coursing - the violence that the criminals involved use in pursuit of their gambling activities.

“These criminals make a great deal of money out of hare coursing and what we’ve got to do is make sure the police know about any problems and help farmers tackle those problems.”

Ms Atkins stressed she - and Mr Lewis - found the meeting to be useful. She added: “We do care. We are very grateful to the farmers for coming. One of my jobs as an MP is to make sure that the issues that matter to local people are being heard at the very top of Government.”

She confirmed the county’s MP’s would continue lobbying for a fairer funding deal.