Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 9°C

Search

CLA East urges hare coursing crackdown following ‘truly terrifying’ incidents

PUBLISHED: 00:10 09 March 2018

CLA East regional director Ben Underwood with an anti-hare coursing sign. Picture: CLA

CLA East regional director Ben Underwood with an anti-hare coursing sign. Picture: CLA

Submitted

East Anglian landowners’ leaders are calling for a crackdown on hare coursing following incidents in which people have been threatened, intimidated and had their vehicles rammed.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has launched a new plan setting out where it believes action is needed to tackle the crime.

It says there have been “thousands” of incidents of hare coursing across the East of England throughout autumn and winter, and described some as “truly terrifying”.

There were 356 reported incidents in Suffolk in the last 12 months, but the real figure is thought to be closer to 500 due to the way the crime is logged, CLA said.

Hare coursing, where dogs compete against each other in pursuit of a hare, was outlawed by the 2004 Hunting Act but its illegal practice has persisted.

Those taking part are often attracted to the region because of its population of brown hares. Coursers take advantage of the wide open spaces, trespassing on private land in order to set their dogs onto hares – often betting thousands of pounds on the resulting chase.

The CLA says its members have reported intimidation and threats of violence when confronted with hare coursers on their land.

It is calling for specific sentencing guidelines for hare coursing to be introduced, and for the National Wildlife Crime Unit to be given sufficient resources to be able to treat hare coursing as a priority.

It also wants police to be able to reclaim kennelling costs of dogs from offenders as it believes seizing dogs involved is an effective way to prevent hare coursing.

The organisation says police 101 call handlers should undergo additional training so they better understand the crime.

CLA East regional director Ben Underwood said: “Some of the reports of hare coursing I have heard about in our region across the autumn and winter have been truly terrifying.

“Those that take part in hare coursing have little respect for the law or the communities they impact through this crime.

“Hare coursing raises concerns about animal cruelty, damages crops and private property, and has a detrimental impact on those who live and work in rural areas.

“Fines for those caught can be incredibly low while the gambling side of the crime can generate thousands of pounds so there is no deterrent.

“By releasing our action plan now we hope that steps can be taken that will reduce the impact of this crime in future hare coursing seasons.”

One CLA member, who lives in the eastern region, said he and his neighbours had been subjected to incidents of hare coursing on their fields on a “near daily basis” for the last three or four months.

“We have had face-to-face conflicts with the coursers, been threatened, had property damaged and seen cars rammed,” he said.

“In our experience it is a crime that is on the increase. We have got to take a stand and find a way to combat this crime as it can have a devastating impact on those who live and work in rural communities.”

Levels of hare coursing increase significantly after harvest when large areas of arable land are cleared, making it easier to travel across fields. The season typically ends in April and begins again after harvest but any large flat and open spaces can be targeted throughout the year.

A woman with 256 previous convictions is this week back behind bars after biting three members of staff at a Suffolk supermarket along with two others sentenced this week.

As the two-year anniversary of missing RAF serviceman Corrie McKeague’s disappearance approaches, his mother opens up about theories, potential new searches and her first grandchild.

Antisocial driving in around Ipswich town centre was targeted in an operation by Special Constables last night.

A Good Samaritan is travelling up to 70 miles a time to carry out handyman jobs for families of young people with life-threatening conditions.

Cautions and convictions for knife crime in Suffolk last year reached their highest levels since 2010.

Wet weather is forecast for today, with flooding expected tomorrow as ‘yellow’ weather warnings for wind and rain are issued.

Instagram has long been home to some of the best food photography on the internet, whether it is showing off an attempt at a new recipe or an amazing dish at a restaurant.

From an exciting announcement at Chantry Park to the opening of a cannabis lounge in Ipswich make sure you are up to date with our articles.

First responders raised hundreds of pounds to help their life-saving work through a sponsored charity event.

A new coastal branch of a Suffolk sixth form has opened with hopes to broaden opportunities for young people in the area.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Ipswich Star daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24