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Hare coursing crackdown from rural crime team keeps potential criminals at bay

PUBLISHED: 21:51 17 September 2018 | UPDATED: 05:16 18 September 2018

The Rural Policing Team have thwarted the work of hare coursers using ANPR licence plate recognition and drones. Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE

The Rural Policing Team have thwarted the work of hare coursers using ANPR licence plate recognition and drones. Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE

Archant

Alleged hare coursers, scrap metal thieves and youths on mini motorbikes reportedly terrorising livestock were all reported during a rural crime crackdown by police.

Extra officers and a police volunteer from Suffolk Constabulary’s Rural Crime Team took part in the crackdown during the weekend, where a new all-terrain vehicle, police cars and even a drone were used in the operation.

Licence plate recognition software was used to track the movement of potential offenders, so the force could identify vehicle thought to be associated with crime and steer them away from any further criminal activity.

Two people were also reported for various offences in connection with the carriage of scrap metal after officers stopped multiple cars as part of their investigations.

Youths on mini motorbikes were also identified by the squad terrorising the nearby livestock, leading them to find and seize the two vehicles. The riders were reported and will now have to appear in court.

Several reports of people trespassing on land with dogs were investigated - but these were found to be legitimate dog walkers.

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said: “Well done to everyone involved in this day of action focused on hare-coursing.

“Suffolk is particularly vulnerable to this type of crime due to our big open spaces and population of brown hares, so it is very important to make it clear that this despicable behaviour will not be tolerated in Suffolk.”

Renewed calls for harsher hare coursing punishments came last week after Suffolk police figures showed rural crime had fallen but hare coursing had risen in the past year’s data.

Nick Stonehouse, head of the Rural Policing Team, said: “It was a successful day and while there were no reports of hare-coursing, this may well be due to the overt presence of officers in marked rural vehicles deterring offenders.

“I would ask to the public to assist us by reporting suspicious activity in the countryside by calling police on 101. If a crime is in progress do call 999.”

Suffolk Constabulary announced that they and Essex Police had agreed to join with other forces earlier this month to tackle the problem.

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