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Hare coursing dispersal order across Lincolnshire

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Police have a 48-hour dispersal notice in place across Lincolnshire this weekend to prevent further anti-social behaviour linked to hare coursing.

Officers are patrolling for signs of hare coursing and say they will seize all dogs and vehicles used in the activity and apply to the courts for forfeiture.

They have issued notices to two people and escorted them out of the county, a process followed if offences cannot be proved.

Police are patrolling for hare coursers
Police are patrolling for hare coursers

What is hare coursing?

Hare coursing is a bloodsport where dogs are used to chase, catch and kill hares.

It is illegal in the UK under the Hunting Act 2004, which makes it an offence to hunt wild mammals with dogs. Anyone convicted of the offence can receive a fine of up to £5,000 by a magistrates’ court.

Legislation also gives police the powers to seize and detain vehicles until the court hearing. Powers to seize vehicles may also be granted under section 30 of the Game Act 1831.

Hare coursing tends to start after harvest when large areas of land have been cleared of standing crops. It usually occurs at dawn or dusk.

Lincolnshire’s flat, rural landscape makes it a popular area for hare coursing. It often attracts coursers from outside of the county.

What to look out for

The most obvious sign is groups of vehicles parked in a rural area, perhaps by a gateway to farmland, on a grass verge, on a farm track or bridle path.

They will usually be estate cars, four-wheel drives or vans. It will be obvious looking inside whether there is evidence of dogs or not.

They often travel in convoy, with vans at the front and rear containing minders.

They will often use binoculars to spot hares.

Coursers will often walk along the edge of a field to frighten a hare into the open.

Report it

If you see hare coursing taking place call 999. If you suspect it is happening call 101.

  • Do not approach the participants.
  • It may help police if you can answer any of the questions when reporting wildlife crime:
  • Are the suspect/s alone or in a group?
  • Are they trespassing?
  • Do they have equipment with them?
  • Do they have dogs or firearms with them?
  • Where are they going?
  • Where have they been?
  • What do they look like?
  • Have they any vehicles?
  • What are the number plates and vehicle models?
  • Can you safely get a photograph?

More help and support is available from the National Rural Crime Network.

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