Since September 1, 2015 there have been 156 men arrested or reported for summons for incidents involving hare coursing in Lincolnshire, compared to 65 for the whole season September to March last year.
Some 15 vehicles have been seized and 63 other men have been dealt with by other enforcement action such as directions to leave and traffic offences.
Enforcement activity in Lincolnshire so far this month, as part of Operation Galileo, has seen the following:
- On January 9, five men from the West Midlands, suspected of hare coursing in Metheringham, were given a formal direction to leave the county. There was insufficient evidence for a prosecution.
- On January 8, four men from Somerset were reported for hunting with dogs in Bourne and a Subaru Legacy was seized. They had earlier been given a formal direction to leave the county which they chose to ignore.
- On January 7, a silver Nissan Terrano was seized by police after being abandoned by suspected hare coursers in Frithville.
- On January 7, four men from Derbyshire and Cleveland, suspected of being involved in hare coursing, were given a warning to leave the county. There was insufficient evidence for a prosecution.
- On January 7 a man from Derby was given what is called a ‘Section 59 warning’ about their manner of driving off-road in Walcott. This means that if they are seen in similar circumstances in the next 12 months the vehicle can be seized.
The operation was launched with a dedicated team, supported by neighbouring forces and organisations, clamping down on the illegal blood sport.
The activity involves gaining access to private lands, usually fields, and setting dogs to chase hares.
A bet is made on each dog, and police said previously offenders in the county have been known to exchange sums of up to £30,000 in one day.
Vehicles seized in connection to offences are often scrapped.
Force lead for rural crime, Chief Inspector Jim Tyner said: “I am often asked what happens to the seized vehicles. Three Subaru Forresters seized from suspected hare coursers in October have been scrapped.
“A Nissan Terrano and a Vauxhall Frontera seized in November have also been scrapped. Several other vehicles seized for no insurance are going through the administrative procedure and most will be scrapped.
“If the owner produces a valid current insurance certificate they can reclaim their vehicle but they have to pay the recovery and storage fees.
“They are still prosecuted for the original offence of no insurance at the time they were stopped. A Subaru Legacy, a Nissan Almeira, a Mitsubishi Shogun and another Subaru Forrester seized under the Hunting Act are currently held pending the prosecution of the drivers.
“Operation Galileo continues and I remain determined that we use all legislative powers available to us to deal with the scourge of hare coursing”.