‘Police traps set to stop hare coursing
Published Derbyshire Times
POLICE are undertaking night-time operations to snare people taking part in an illegal blood sport in the north Derbyshire countryside. Incidents of hare coursing are becoming more frequent in the local area, with offenders going onto farmers’ fields and using dogs to chase and catch wild hares. Derbyshire police have been out on night-time patrols searching for offenders around Barlborough, Shirebrook, Bolsover and Clay Cross and have issued several warnings.
But they plan to continue the operation in an effort to stamp out the problem before organised criminals get involved and start gambling rings around the illegal ‘sport’. Pc Adam Galley, wildlife crime officer for Derbyshire police, said: “As soon as we allow so many to do it, we will get the organised criminals who come on the land and who organise betting on it. We want to stop the problem before it gets to that level. “We are at the infancy of something that could become a serious problem if we don’t do something about it now.” Hare coursing has been a nationwide problem since the 2004 ban on hunting with dogs came into force.
The offenders in Derbyshire are doing what is known as ‘lamping’ – hare coursing in darkness which involves startling the animals with large torches before the dogs give chase. Pc Galley said: “They are hunting with dogs which is an offence, hare coursing which is an offence and if they take the animals then it is poaching which is an offence. “They are also committing criminal damage by tearing up the farm land with their vehicles.” He added: “We encourage anyone who sees any incidents of hare coursing or hunting with dogs to ring them in. “People should be looking for powerful torches being flashed arounds fields and men dressed in camouflage-type or dark clothing with running dogs like lurchers, greyhounds or whippets.”‘