Hares still under threat from coursers in the fens of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire

PUBLISHED: 20:41 14 December 2012

Greyhounds photographed coursing a hare - before the sport was banned.

Greyhounds photographed coursing a hare - before the sport was banned.

Police in Cambridgeshire have dealt with 116 incidents of hare coursing since the beginning of the season – resulting in 23 people being reported, three arrested and seven vehicles being seized.

Coursers worked their dogs on the Fens of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire because the flat terrain meant the animals could easily see the hare once corn and other crops had been harvested.

Both walk-up and organised coursing meetings were banned under the 2004 Hunting Act. But coursers from across the country still descend on the Fens, usually in small, mobile gangs.

Police say there has been a drop in the number of hare coursing incidents in Cambridgeshire – there were 32 incidents reported during November compared to 40 the same time last year.

Insp Ian Ford, of Cambridgeshire police, said: “Hare coursing has a serious impact on the rural community and anyone taking part in such activity will be dealt with.

“I would like to thank Countryside Watch and the public for their help in reporting this type of anti-social behaviour.

“We have been responding to all incidents and used a range of tactics to catch the offenders and officers will continue their efforts to prevent this illegal activity.”

Coursers usually operate in small groups, travelling in 4x4s or vans. Two greyhounds, lurchers or salukis are led into a field with slip collars, so they can be released simultaneously when a hare is seen.

Dogs are awarded points for turning and killing the quarry, with money usually bet on the result.

Anyone with information should call police on 101.

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