In North Lincolnshire, illegal hare hunting is currently causing problems for farming and rural communities. Criminals from the North East and West Yorkshire are travelling to the flat countryside, and recently harvested fields surrounding the counties, to poach.
Poaching, including hare coursing, is a UK national wildlife priority. It is carried out by organised groups of criminals, where large sums of money changes hands due to bets being placed on the performance of the dogs used.
These gangs are said to often threaten landowners and members of the public, and cause damage by driving their vehicles over standing crops, and breaking gates and fences.
Wildlife & Rural Crime Officer, Brandon Ward, said: “Hare coursing remains a major problem in our area during the winter months. It is with increased patrols by specially trained wildlife and rural crime officers and the help of local people being our eyes and ears and reporting these crimes that we can catch people in the act and bring them to justice.”
Chief Inspector Iain Dixon said: “We take rural crime very seriously, the vulnerability of residents living in remote farms and villages is recognised and understood by us.
“As a Force we are committed to the policing of wildlife and rural crime. With specially trained Wildlife Crime officers (WCOs) and we have trained all PCSOs and Community Beat Managers who police rural communities in how to deal with rural crimes. We are, now more than ever before, ideally placed to understand and respond to wildlife and rural crimes.”