The fight against hare coursing in Lincolnshire will continue for remainder of the year
The fight against hare coursing gangs blighting Lincolnshire communities will continue for remainder of the year, say police chiefs.
And the Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones has pledged to continue his drive to equip the force with the right equipment to tackle the gangs.
The commitments come as South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes visited Spalding police station to praise the work already done to combat hare coursers.
The force has seen a 30% drop in incidents in 2017/18 as a result of Operation Galileo – 1,365 incidents were reported by residents compared with 1,965 in 2016/17.
This season officers have seized 76 dogs being used for hare coursing and 45 people were arrested or reported for summons. Another 58 people were served with dispersal notices, forcing them to leave the county and often without their dog.
“It was a really big challenge and a profound concern for farmers and rural communities but there has been an incredibly heroic effort by the force and the commissioner to get on top of this,” said Mr Hayes.
“It is very frightening when groups of, often aggressive, people turn up on your land and you can’t do anything about it so the response has been incredibly important for maintaining people’s faith in the police.”
Seizing dogs has been a crucial part of the campaign to rid the county of the problem – with £45,000 spent on homing them this year. While work is ongoing to reduce this cost for next season, we are also working on trying to get changes in the law so the coursers can be charged the cost.
“I made a commitment to ensure our force has the right equipment to combat these gangs and we have already made great strides in that area,” said Mr Jones.
“That drive will continue. It’s crucial we combat this criminal behaviour because it often extends beyond simply hare coursing to other criminal activities and, of course, diverts resources from dealing with other incidents.”
Chief Inspector Jim Tyner, force lead on rural crime for Lincolnshire Police, told the meeting that one farmer, who had been the victim of hare coursing on his land 52 times two years ago but had only reported two incident this year.
“We are already in the process of planning operations for the rest of the year and continue our commitment to tackle hare coursing in our communities.”