Suffolk police to join regional hare coursing operation

Hares in the Suffolk countryside Picture: FRANCES CRICKMORE/CITIZENSIDE.COM

Hares in the Suffolk countryside Picture: FRANCES CRICKMORE/CITIZENSIDE.COM - Credit:

A new operation has been launched to tackle hare coursing in Suffolk and Essex.

Suffolk and Essex police forces will join with other regional colleagues in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire to target those taking part.

Hare coursing is the chasing of hares by hounds who use sight rather than scent.

The activity has been banned in the UK for more than 10 years since the introduction of the Hunting Act 2004.

While causing pain and cruelty to the animals that are being chased, hare coursing is also linked to other types of criminality.

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Illegal gambling is just one of the problems caused by hare coursing - 4x4’s, often used by those involved in the activity, also damage fields and fencing.

The plans, known as Operation Galileo, will involved regional action days in which all forces involved will target known locations for hare coursing on the same day in an effort to track down on those involved.

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It’s the first time that all six forces have joined together for such an operation.

Sergeant Brian Calver, who is part of Suffolk Constabulary’s rural crime team, said that Suffolk’s open fields, particularly after harvests have been completed, are one of the attractions of the county to people who partake in hare coursing.

“We have got a good hare population but that’s the downside to it,” he added.

Sgt Calver said it was important for members of the public to stay vigilant particularly now that the harvest is coming to an end.

In particular he said that people should be on the look out for 4x4’s on the edge of fields.

“If you see it in action call 999.

“We want to come down hard on these people and bring them to justice,” Sgt Calver said.

Other information about hare coursing should be passed to police by calling 101.

Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “I am committed to supporting officers in the fight against rural crime, which is a priority in my Police and Crime Plan.

“I would like to say a personal thank you to all officers, both here in Suffolk and in our partner force areas, for their efforts to drive out hare coursing and am pleased to see the positive impact this has had.”

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