Suffolk Police send stark warning to hare coursers
Suffolk Constabulary has shown this week what could happen to offender's vehicles if they are caught hare-coursing.
The force is warning that strong action against those involved in this illegal activity will be taken, with one potential outcome that any vehicles used could be seized and crushed.
Although the vehicle depicted was not used in a hare-coursing incident itself, it provides a clear example of the consequences if arrested and convicted of the crime.
Sgt Brian Calver from the Suffolk Rural Crime and Wildlife Team said: "Hare coursing is a huge issue for farmers and landowners with many people living in fear of these criminals. This illegal activity damages property, threatens people's incomes and subjects people to fear and intimidation.
"Many of those are very unpleasant with violent and unscrupulous backgrounds, many of whom have links to organised criminality. Significant sums of money can change hands in the form of illegal betting and gambling on the outcome."
Hare coursing is a blood-sport where dogs are used to chase, catch and kill hares, is illegal in the UK and anyone convicted of the offence can receive a fine of up to £5,000 by a magistrates’ court.
Hare coursers typically become active as large tracts of land are left without standing crops. During this period, offenders are known to travel to Suffolk from around the country to hunt hares with dogs.
Between September 2019 to March 31, 2020, there were 139 reported incidents of hare coursing and since September 2020 there have been 80.
Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "Suffolk is particularly vulnerable to hare-coursers due to our wonderful open spaces and population of brown hares so it is very important to make it clear that this despicable behaviour will not be tolerated in our beautiful county."
Members of the public who witness hare coursing taking place are advised not to approach the participants but to phone police immediately on 999.