CLA calls for vigilance in spotting and reporting illegal hare coursers, as farmers brace themselves for seasonal rise in incidents

19 August 2019

Hare coursing

Farmers and landowners are bracing themselves for the seasonal rise in hare coursing, with the CLA urging the police to make tackling the crime a top priority.

Hare coursing is when dogs are used to chase, catch and kill hares, with gambling on the outcome common practice.

The crime becomes more prevalent as we head through summer and towards autumn, following harvest when areas of arable land are cleared of crops, making it easier to travel across fields.

The CLA is now urging the police to do everything possible to stop the sinister tactics, threats and intimidation used by hare coursers and arrest those caught in the act.

We are also encouraging members of the public who see hare coursing taking place to follow these three top tips:

1.      

Do not approach hare coursers.

2.      

Report any suspicious activity in the countryside to the police on 101.

3.      

Call 999 if you suspect a crime is actually taking place.

CLA South East represents thousands of landowners, farmers and rural businesses in Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and the Isle of Wight. Acting Regional Director Tim Bamford said: “Farmers and landowners across our region are bracing themselves for a rise in hare coursing.

“We appreciate that police have a range of significant pressures but we want to ensure that tackling hare coursing remains a priority.

“It is a misconception for people to think this is a minor crime. Those involved in hare coursing are hardened criminals – often using threats, intimidation and in some cases violence against anyone who questions or challenges their actions.

“These criminals don’t think twice about trespassing on land, damaging crops and property and give no consideration to the animal welfare of the hares involved.”

Criminals such as hare coursers should not be tackled directly by members of the public and calls to the police to report incidents of coursing should be made from a safe location.

When phoning the police, callers should be prepared to give an accurate description of what is happening. This could include descriptions of the people, their vehicles and dogs.

To view the CLA’s Hare Coursing Action Plan click here.

For more information about the CLA and its work, visit www.cla.org.uk/your-area/south-east/regional-news and follow @CLASouthEast on Twitter.