Gamekeeper attacked by hare coursers

By James MortlockA GAMEKEEPER who was attacked twice by illegal hare coursers using catapults loaded with metal balls has spoken of his frightening ordeal.

By James Mortlock

A GAMEKEEPER who was attacked twice by illegal hare coursers using catapults loaded with metal balls has spoken of his frightening ordeal.

Richard Clarke was set upon yesterday by a gang using catapults only a week after a similar terrifying incident in which a courser pulled out a catapult and pelted his car with ball bearings from close range, denting the bodywork.

Seconds later another of the trespassers on the land he looks after in Six Mile Bottom, near Newmarket, tried to ram his vehicle.


You may also want to watch:


Mr Clarke said he had been told by one of his colleagues that the coursers had lined up on the land and had been setting their dogs on hares that were not yet fully grown.

He followed their cars, a red Toyota Corolla and a blue Shogun, into the village as far as the junction with the A1304 road.

Most Read

Mr Clarke said one of the passengers in the Corolla had then taken out the catapult and started firing the ball bearings at the gamekeeper, while the Shogun driver tried to ram his car.

He added hare coursing was a big problem in the area at the moment, particularly as the fields are now bare.

"I have just had another incident today. They started pelting these ball bearings at me – it seems to be a regular thing now. Luckily they were too far away to do much damage, but last week's incident was quite frightening," he said last night.

He believed the illegal coursers were travellers from outside East Anglia who had been attracted by the open landscape around Newmarket.

"It's a nightmare at this time of the year. They come back every week and sometimes every day. They can get very violent because they are betting and there is a lot of money changing hands," said Mr Clarke.

"These people call themselves sportsmen, but they are not because they are killing young leverets that are not fully grown yet. They are playing with people's livelihoods."

Mr Clarke appealed for the publix to contact the police if they see illegal coursers working land in the area.

Anyone with information about the illegal hare coursers, who struck yesterday and on September 21 between 10am and 10.20am, should contact Cambridgeshire police on 01223 358966 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

james.mortlock@eadt.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter