Number of people convicted of hare coursing in the county triples
- Credit: Archant
Cambridgeshire police have seen an increase in the number people who prosecuted for hare coursing in the county.
As part of a crackdown on hare coursing, the number of people who are being prosecuted has almost tripled, from 20 people in 2018 to 63 in 2019.
The rural crime team at Cambridgeshire police spend much of their time trying to catch hare coursers.
Last year alone, the rural crime team dealt with 877 reported incidents, compared to 705 in 2018.
Police also have powers to issue dispersal orders in the county. A Dispersal Order means that police can ask a group of two or more people to leave the dispersal area if they are doing anything wrong, or if they believe that they may or are likely to cause a nuisance to someone else.
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As part of a crackdown on hare coursing, officers issued 137 dispersal orders in 2019, 67 more than they did in 2018, where 70 were issued.
A Cambridgeshire police spokesman said: "The hare coursing season typically starts in September when fields have been harvested.
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"It is illegal under the Hunting Act 2004, causes damage to crops, harms animals and threatens the rural community, often resulting in intimidation and in some cases violence.
"Hare coursing continues to be one of the biggest issues our rural communities face. Tackling it remains a priority for the Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT) and we will continue to do what we can to bring those responsible to justice but we need the public's help.
"The most obvious sign of hare coursing is a group of vehicles parked in a rural area with dogs, perhaps by a gateway to farmland or on a grass verge. If anyone sees what they suspect to be hare coursing, we would urge them to report any suspicions, no matter how insignificant.
"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 is asked to contact police immediately on 999 and provide officers with a description of the people involved, any registration numbers and vehicle descriptions and the location."
Hare coursing has been illegal for more than a decade, since the implementation of the Hunting Act 2004. www.cambs.police.uk/report.