Cambridgeshire Rural Crime Team's success in fight against hare coursers
Cambridgeshire’s Rural Crime Team is continuing to crack down on hare coursers after recording their best results in six years.
Over the past year (April 2020 to March 2021) the team have responded to 1,196 incidents of hare coursing, a reduction of 16 per cent from the previous year and the lowest since 2014/15.
In January this year, a Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire dog handler spotted a red Subaru Forester car in Wisbech St Mary and with swift back up from Lincolnshire's Rural Crime Team officers managed to seize the vehicle and issue the dispersal order and fines to five men.
On the same day, another hare courser was stopped in Wimblington. He was caught thanks to the help of a police dog who tracked him down. He was also issued with a dispersal order and a Covid fine.
In the continued fight against hare coursing in Fenland, members of the Cambridgeshire Rural Crime Team also seized a silver Honda car after it nose-dived into a ditch at Chatteris on the same day.
As of March 2021, the team have seized 93 vehicles, issued 138 Community Protection Warnings, issued 17 Community Protection Notices, issued 165 dispersal notices and seized and rescued 20 dogs.
A further 23 people have been summoned to court.
Sergeant Craig Flavell, who leads the team, said: “Hare coursing remains one of the biggest crimes to affect our rural communities and the team have worked hard to achieve some exceptional results.
“This year we’ve seen our biggest reduction in incidents since we reformed in 2016 but we’re not complacent and will continue to tackle those offending, drive hare coursing out of the county and bring those responsible to justice.
“We’re now focusing on a summer of proactive enforcement and warrants whilst continuing to support other areas of the force.”
The hare coursing season traditionally begins in September when the fields have been harvested and ploughed making them the perfect ground for the illegal blood sport.
Hare coursing causes damage to crops, harms animal welfare and threatens the rural community. It can result in intimidation and even violence.
The Rural Crime Team (RCAT) comprises nine officers and staff working across the county. As well as hare coursing they combat theft, heritage crime, hunting, rural and wildlife crime. They work alongside partner agencies including the local and county councils, RSPCA, Environment Agency and Crown Prosecution Service.