Suspected hare coursers evade police capture

An anti-hare coursing sign. Picture: LIBRARY

An anti-hare coursing sign. Picture: LIBRARY - Credit: Archant

A car was seized by police after it was believed to be involved in hare coursing in a Suffolk field.

However the four men thought to be involved managed to avoid police capture, with officers unable to locate those involved.

Officers from Mildenhall Police who attended the scene in Freckenham said the 4x4 vehicle they seized was from Essex.

In a Tweet after attending the incident on Saturday, February 17, officers said: “Police were called to Freckenham where it’s believed there were four males and a dog harecoursing on land nearby.

“The vehicle from Essex was seized by police despite the occupants not being located. No damage was caused to the land.”

There have been calls for tougher punishment for hare coursers after reports that the crime steadily rising.

Although a report showed an overall drop in rural crime from 2016 to 2017 – and a further projected fall in 2018 – there was an increase in reported hare coursing from 141 calls in 2016/17 to more than 400 in 2017/18.

Police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said when the statistics were revealed last year: “Suffolk is particularly vulnerable to this type of crime due to its big open spaces and population of brown hares.

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“Almost all of those responsible have criminal records. They can be violent, threatening, will trespass and damage property, and very often travel in stolen cars.

“A lot of money changes hands – and that’s why they do it.”

He has called for dogs to taken away from people and cars involved in the crime to be crushed, saying: “It’s clear the biggest assets need to be confiscated.

“We have to put a ring of steel around the county.”

Last year a seasonal operation was launched to tackle hare coursing in the region.

Operation Galileo involves action days targeting locations known for hare coursing, which was banned under the Hunting Act 2004 and is linked to illegal gambling and criminal damage.

Sergeant Brian Calver, of Suffolk police’s rural crime team, has appealed for public support, saying: “If you see it in action call 999.

“We want to come down hard on these people.”

Hare coursing can also be reported by calling police on 101.

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