‘Someone will end up being killed’ – Young farmer issues stark hare coursing warning
PUBLISHED: 18:52 02 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:57 03 October 2020
A young farmer has warned “someone will end up being killed” if hare coursing gangs continue using dangerous tactics to evade capture.
Katherine Cross, 21, whose family own a farm in Suffolk, wants a change in the law to create harsher penalties for those who take part in the illegal blood sport.
The act of hare coursing is where dogs are trained and used to chase, catch and kill live hares.
Under the Hunting Act 2004, hare coursing carries a maximum fine of £5,000, but critics argue that this level of fine is rarely dished out.
Miss Cross was speaking after reports of suspected hare coursing were made to police in Suffolk this week, with witnesses allegedly threatened by a group of men.
Police said three men, aged 27, 36, and 43, were arrested in Elveden today on suspicion of a number of offences and have been taken to Bury St Edmunds Investigation Centre for questioning.
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Miss Cross said farmers are becoming more aware to the illegal activity thanks to a ‘Farmwatch’ Whatsapp group where crime is reported among landowners – but that is resulting in hare coursers becoming more reckless in their attempts to escape being filmed or captured by police.
“More of us are more aware but because of that we are finding them a lot quicker and that is resulting in these people fleeing from the situation and it’s becoming dangerous to everyone.
“They just don’t care. It’s illegal what they’re doing in the field, they haven’t got permission to be where there are, they’re causing thousands of pounds of damage in some cases by churning up fields.
“Unfortunately, there’s not a real penalty for the crime they are committing in the field and that’s the main problem. The law needs to change to give them much harsher penalties otherwise it’s a slap on the wrist kind of thing.”
Miss Cross added she fears that someone could be seriously hurt or worse if it continues.
“They’re becoming a lot more dangerous on the road and it’s going to end up resulting in an accident,” she said. “They will do anything and everything to get away in their vehicle.
“At the moment, there’s only really the rural communities, farmers, and people in the countryside that know about it but I think we need to raise awareness.
“It’s going to end up with someone being killed if they carry on.”
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