A NEW police team, cracking down on the escalating practise of illegal hare coursing has been launched in Lincolnshire today (Wednesday).
Lincolnshire Police’s Operation Galileo aims to take a rapid and robust response to dealing with the crime, which causes ‘disruption, inconvenience and alarm to members of our rural communities.’
Inspector Andy Ham said: “We are determined to tackle this crime proactively and want to send out a strong message to criminals that Lincolnshire is not an easy target for their activities.
“We are seeking to disrupt their networks and deter them from blighting our countryside with their crimes.”
The hare coursing season runs from September to March and reported instances of the practise has risen in each of the three previous seasons, with more than a thousand cases recorded last year alone.
Coursing involves the pursuit of hares with greyhounds or other sight-hounds for sport, which organisers often gamble on.
The activity was made illegal in 2005 and evidence shows that the majority of those participating in it are also involved with other forms of criminal activity and generally come from outside Lincolnshire, regularly as repeat offenders.
The Galileo Team consists of a sergeant, a dog handler and six PCs including the force wildlife officer.
Inspector Ham has urged members of the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious incidents to the team.
He said: “No one knows the countryside better than the communities themselves and they are best placed to notice unfamiliar people, vehicles and suspicious activities.
“Please contact the police to report these straight away.
“Ideally take note of vehicle registrations, times and specific locations.
“However, even information such as the make, colour and direction of travel of vehicles can be extremely valuable to us, as every piece of information is like a piece of a puzzle and can help us build up a picture of what hare coursers are doing and where they are targeting.”
If you have witnessed anything suspicious call 101.