Police arrest three on suspicion of hare coursing
Police have arrested three men in Marlborough on suspicion of hare coursing.
Officers from Wiltshire Rural Crime Team were alerted to the illegal activity in the Pewsey Vale area, and were assisted by farmers and game keepers to locate the men.
The move follows similar arrests over Christmas, and comes amid claims that hare coursing – where quick dogs like greyhounds and lurchers – are set loose to chase hares, while spectators bet on the outcome.
The sport is outlawed under the Hunting with Dogs Act 2004, and since the law came in to force there have been more prosecutions for hare coursing than fox hunting. If convicted, each perpetrator faces a fine of up to £5,000 at magistrates court.
To avoid the long of the law, hare coursers have changed tactics: no longer do they gather in large groups; instead they prefer to drop their dogs off on private farmland and follow the quarry in vehicle, often causing damage to crops and fences.
Police insist that people involved in hare coursing are often involved in other kids of criminal activity, such as theft and burglary, as well as trespass and criminal damage.
Not everyone was supportive of the arrests, however. One Facebook user wrote on the Wiltshire Rural Crime Team’s page “All you farmers let the boys have a run on land and then we move to other land u farmers make a big thing out of it ant u got better things to do than keep chasing hair coursing lads stay home with ur family on a Sunday and let the boys have some sport,” while another said “It's only a rabbit or hare all you farmers need to chill out no different when you lot all go out on big shoots an kill all the pheasants is it an leaves them splattered all over the roads.”