Tougher sentences and new Police and Court powers come into force today to tackle illegal hare coursing.
The new Court powers include:
- Unlimited fines and a maximum 6 month jail sentence for those convicted of hare coursing
- Two new criminal offences of using a dog to search for or pursue a hare; and being equipped to trespass with the intention of using a dog to search for or pursue a hare.
- New powers to prevent those convicted from owning dogs
A survey carried about by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society last year found one in five farmers had spent at least £5,000 on repairing damage or taking preventative action in the last three years. For 7% of farmers, this bill has exceeded £10,000.
The survey also highlighted the importance of tackling hare coursing for farming families’ well-being and the profitability of their businesses. In almost half of all cases (48%) farmers were either threatened or verbally assaulted. One respondent said they had been physically attacked.
Chair of the National Rural Crime Network, Tim Passmore welcomed the new laws coming into force:
“This is great news for all of us who have campaigned hard for more to be done to tackle this despicable crime. These new laws send a clear message to criminals that rural communities are not a soft touch for illegal activities. We are serious about tackling rural crime and look forward to standing up for residents and businesses in the countryside who are victims of this and other criminal activities”.