Police issue warning over hare coursing 'fear and intimidation'
PUBLISHED: 15:14 20 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:14 20 September 2019
Police have urged people to be vigilant against hare coursing and warned it will take strong action against those involved in an activity that has as "terrible impact" on rural communities.
Norfolk will this year again be taking part in Operation Galileo, a nationwide approach adopted by 12 police forces to prevent hare coursing.
The collaboration includes identifying key offenders over the 12 forces, gathering and sharing intelligence to prevent hare coursing, and exploring civil and criminal powers to take enforcement action.
PC Jon Chandler, rural crime beat manager for King's Lynn and West Norfolk said: "Hare coursing has a terrible impact on our rural communities: it damages property, threatens people's livelihoods and subjects people and families to fear and intimidation.
"It's an issue we take very seriously indeed and we will take prompt and robust action to prevent this happening in Norfolk, and pursue anybody committing this crime.
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"If you witness this crime in action or have information about illegal hare coursing, please share this with us so we can work together to catch those responsible."
Hare coursing has been illegal for more than a decade, since the implementation of the Hunting Act 2004. It usually starts after harvest and runs into spring. This is when hare coursers typically become active as large tracts of land are left without standing crops.
Offenders are known to travel to Norfolk from around the country to hunt hares with dogs.
Norfolk officers will be carrying out patrols in areas identified as potential targets for hare coursing. Any vehicles used in such activities can be seized and could be crushed.
Norfolk Police is also taking part in Operation Owl this weekend a nationwide drive to tackle the persecution of birds of prey. Methods of persecution include illegal trapping, shooting, poisoning and nest disturbance.
PC Jon Chandler will be at Welney WWT on Saturday, September 21 at 2pm to speak to members of the public as part of the operation.
Anybody witnessing hare coursing in progress should call 999 immediately. People with information about hare coursing or who have information about wildlife crime can contact Norfolk Police on 101. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.