Police in Lincolnshire launch major offensive to stamp out illegal hare coursing
A COUNTY wide operation is being launched this month to target those who take part in the illegal and cruel pursuit of hare coursing across Lincolnshire. Operation Galileo is a dedicated response to stamping out hare coursing across the county. Lincolns
A COUNTY wide operation is being launched this month to target those who take part in the illegal and cruel pursuit of hare coursing across Lincolnshire.
Operation Galileo is a dedicated response to stamping out hare coursing across the county.
Lincolnshire Police's Wildlife Crime Officer PC Nigel Lound, who for many years has been instrumental in tackling the illegal activity, will be leading the robust offensive and working closely with the National Farmers Union and the county's farmers, landowners and gamekeepers to ensure the operation's success.
Between September 2008 and March 2009 there were in excess of nine hundred reports of hare coursing received by Lincolnshire Police alone.
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Operation Galileo aims to reduce hare coursing by actively targeting offenders over the coming autumn and winter months.
The operation is supported by the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit, which has recently appointed a former detective as a Poaching Priority Officer. Hare coursing was totally outlawed following the implementation of the Hunting Bill in February 2005.
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All forms of poaching have been classed as 'National Policing Wildlife Crime Priorities' in the latest Strategic Assessment by the National Wildlife Crime Unit. PC Nigel Lound commented, "Operation Galileo is an intelligence-led offensive and the foundations for policing activity have already been laid.
"A number of letters have already been sent out to known regular offenders warning them that, should they enter Lincolnshire for the illegal purpose of coursing hares, then they will be actively targeted," warned PC Lound.
Any individual who enters Lincolnshire to pursue hare coursing will face immediate arrest, have their vehicles and dogs seized and face a court appearance. This could further result in seized vehicles being disposed of, individuals being banned from driving and also receiving a tough fine.
One reason Lincolnshire is targeted by hare coursers is partly due to the fact that the county shares around 25% of the brown hare population with Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, spread across only 5% of the UK's land.
PC Lound explained, "For us to effectively implement this operation it is essential that people living in rural communities work with us, by reporting all incidents to the police, so we are aware of the full picture and can therefore increase our effectiveness."
He finished by warning "It is a fact that some of the individuals involved in hare coursing have criminal records, so their presence inevitably increases the fear of crime amongst country folk living in rural areas. We will do all we can to provide a highly visible policing presence to assist with reducing the fear of crime and take immediate action to reports of hare coursing.
"By doing this and intercepting those intent on hare coursing as they enter the county, we hope to see a huge reduction in the number of offences reported this winter.