Police and Crime Commissioner backing campaign to crack down on hare coursing18 January, 2017
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw is backing the latest campaign launched to tackle hare coursing in the county’s rural areas.
Signs have been created across an area spanning nearly 2,000 square miles, warning of the consequences of hare coursing which was originally banned in 2004 under the Hunting Act.
Hare coursing has become an issue across Lancashire as criminal gangs continue to trespass on farmland and hunt hares with dogs.
Together Lancashire Police, the CLA (Country Land and Business Association) and the Commissioner are urging the public to report any suspicious activity using 101.
Mr Grunshaw said: “I’m delighted we have been able to work together with our partners in the CLA on this. It’s really important that people living in rural communities help us spot when activity such as hare coursing and other wildlife crime is taking place.
“In rural areas crimes are harder to spot and we really do want local people to be on the lookout for anything they think may be suspicious and tell the police about it.
“Protecting our rural communities is as much a priority for me as it is policing our more urban towns and cities.”
Lancashire has an estimated population of 1.4 million people, of which 9% reside in rural areas.
Police are keen to stress that people involved in hare coursing are criminals and should not be approached or challenged.
Owner of Little Meadow Farm in Pilling, Brent Jackson, who has recently experienced hare coursing incidents on his land, said: “We are encouraging local landowners and farmers to help put up signs in areas used by ramblers and visitors. Cracking down on this terrible crime relies on everyone pulling together to rid our countryside of this scourge.”
When reporting suspicious activity, the police need as much detail as possible such as the behaviour of people involved and vehicle description (make, colour, model, number plate).
Lorraine Ellwood, Rural and Wildlife Crime Coordinator at Lancashire Constabulary, said: “For some, the illegal activity is their only source of income for the winter, but in their quest the criminals often threaten landowners and damage property.
“Hare coursing as a sport is banned. Criminal gangs are still travelling to our area, trespassing on private farmland to hunt hares with dogs. The only way to stop these criminals is to report any suspicious activity to the police.”
People can obtain signs by contacting Lorraine Ellwood, Rural Wildlife and Crime on telephone 01772 413 935 or via email Lorraine.Ellwood@lancashire.pnn.police.uk