Police in the Fens released a tally of hare coursing and related offences from the past two months that include four arrests and 21 vehicles seized.

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The tally is proudly displayed on a police station notice board that officers put on their Facebook page this week following the latest seizure of a vehicle suspected of being involved in hare coursing.

The latest vehicle to be seized was one police had been after throughout the day.

“The rural crime action team (RCAT) and the operational planning and support unit (OPSU) have been after this vehicle all day,” said a police spokesman.

“It’s been reported at four hare coursing incidents and we finally got hold of it in Somersham.”

The spokesman added, rather cheekily, that “if you’d like to feature on our stats chart we will see you on the. #RCAT#OPSU Cambs police black board”.

Their blackboard tally also include records of 36 dispersals since the hare coursing ‘season’ began in October, and six dogs and two caravans were also seized by police. Members of the public are being urged to look out for the county’s rural communities by reporting hare coursing incidents.

The hare coursing season traditionally begins in September when Cambridgeshire fields have been harvested and ploughed, making them the perfect ground for the illegal blood sport.

Hare coursing, illegal under the Hunting Act 2004, causes damage to crops, harms animal welfare and threatens the rural community. It can result in intimidation and even violence.

Last year (April 2017-March 2018) Cambs police were called to 1,393 hare coursing incidents - an increase of 23.39 per cent on the previous year (1,124 incidents).

Detective Constable Tom Nuttall RCAT said: “Hare coursing remains one of the biggest crimes affecting our rural communities, particularly in South Cambridgeshire, East Cambridgeshire and Fenland.

“The most obvious sign of hare coursing is a group of vehicles parked in a rural area, perhaps by a gateway to farmland, on a grass verge, on a farm track or bridle path, and I ask people to report any suspicions. Those caught could face a criminal behaviour order, seizure of vehicles and other property, a fine and a driving ban.”

Anyone who sees hare coursing taking place should call 999.