The Humberside Police Force area is a beautiful part of the country, full of pretty rural villages and countryside as far as the eye can see. This is a bonus for all of us who live in its boundaries, however, it is something that travelling criminals use to commit the abhorrent crime of illegal hare coursing.
Hare coursing as a sport is banned, but criminal gangs are still travelling to our area and trespassing on private farmland to hunt hares with dogs.
Humberside Police Rural Crime Officer Julie Turrell, “This can be the time of year many arable farmers fear. Their fields are harvested and crops stored, but hare coursers are out in force. Large tracts of stubble after harvest are attractive to coursers and criminal gangs seem intent on trespassing on private farmland to set hounds on hares.
Over the past few weeks Humberside Police have acted on several reports of hare coursing and poaching in the Holderness and Driffield areas.
Julie Turrell, “Every weekend in October we acted on information from the public and issued several Section 35 notices. A number of vehicles and property that we believe have been used in hare coursing have also been seized.
“The men who were involved in this these incidents were from Wales, Darlington and Newton Aycliffe in County Durham but we believe people are travelling from as far as Scotland, Shropshire and West Yorkshire to participate in hare coursing in the East Riding and North Lincolnshire.
“What I would say to these individuals is that we are ready to disrupt their activities and when we have evidence we will always prosecute.
“For some, the illegal activity is their only source of income for the winter. But in their quest the criminals often threatened landowners and damaged property.
“Hare coursers are often engaged in illegal betting involving large sums of money, and would be prepared to use violence if disturbed so if anyone sees hare coursing taking place we would advise them not to approach the criminals, but contact us immediately.
“Calls from the public really do make a difference, it provides important intelligence that helps us coordinate our resources to combat crime more effectively.
“Farm Watch & Country Watch groups now operate throughout all the Humberside Police Area. These groups are the eyes and ears of our rural community. People entering our county will soon been picked up by the groups and text messages circulated regarding their activity."
If you have not already joined a Farm Watch or Country Watch group and want to do so please follow the links: North Lincolnshire: firstname.lastname@example.org. East Yorkshire: email@example.com
Hare coursing facts
What is hare coursing? Hare coursing is the pursuit of hares using hounds. Participants spread in a line across a field and disturb the hare from its home. They then release their dogs to give chase. A bet is made on which dog will catch or turn the hare first with large sums of money changing hands.
Is hare coursing legal? No. The Hunting Act 2004 made hare coursing illegal. It is illegal to participate, attend, knowingly facilitate or permit land to be used for a hare coursing event. If you believe hare coursing is happening on your land then contact your local police force. Anyone convicted of the offence can be fined up to £5,000 by a magistrates’ court.
What are the most obvious signs of hare coursing? A group of vehicles parked in a rural area perhaps by a gateway to farmland, on a grass verge, on a farm track or bridle path. They may contain evidence of dogs inside – such as muddy paw prints and dog hair.
What should you do if you suspect hare coursing on your farm? If you see an event taking place on your farm, call the police immediately by calling 101. Do not approach the participants yourself.
What you can hunt - Follow the link: WHAT YOU CAN HUNT AND WHEN
How you can hunt - Follow the link: HOW YOU CAN HUNT