Yesterday we had another group of illegal hare coursers using our poor hares as targets for there dogs and we have actually had hares being killed. They just pull up and turf the dog out and watch. It has been a problem over these last few months in Mid Suffolk and each time we have seen them we have had to call the Police which is the correct thing to do.
I have asked Suffolk Police what is the correct protocol that we, the general public, should follow if we ever witness illegal hare coursing. This is the information that I was given:
All Hare Coursing with dogs is illegal under The Hunting Act 2004 and anyone convicted of the offence can be fined up to £5,000 by a Magistrates’ Court. The Police have the power to impound and crush vehicles used by the offenders if the vehicle is on, or has been used to trespass over, private property.
If you ever witness any criminal act taking place, not just hare coursing, you should dial 999 immediately!!! (Use the local Police number 01473 613500 when reporting anything that has already happened e.g. a property break-in, or for giving information on a previous or other incident) Hare coursing is now regarded as high priority and so blue lights will be used. The sooner you call, the sooner the Police can arrive on the scene.
When you call the Police any information you can give them will help. The location where you witnessed the event, vehicle registration, make and model, number of offenders, description of offender e.g. White male, mid 30’s, brown hair, wearing blue jeans and green jacket, number of dogs, if there are any firearms etc.
For you own safety PLEASE DO NOT APPROACH THEM the offenders usually do know they are breaking the law.The last thing the Police want is any confrontation between you and offenders and in some incidences arguments and damage to property have occurred when people take it upon themselves to approach them.Usually, once the offenders realize that they have been spotted, they make a sharp exit before the Police arrive. So please observe from a safe distance and keep Police informed if they move on and in which direction they have gone.
If you know the land owner then please make them aware of the situation so that they can help. They can keep an eye out around the countryside and pass on information through the Farm Watch Network.
We thank you for your help and information you may provide about any rural crime or suspicious activity. Together with assistance from Suffolk Police we can work to keeping Suffolk and our local villages as safe as possible. BWB