Rural landowners are calling for specific sentencing guidelines to target criminal gangs betting on the killing of hares with dogs.
Hare coursing, where dogs compete against each other in pursuit of a hare, was outlawed by the 2004 Hunting Act but now takes place illegally without the permission of the landowner. It has also been reported that the crime sometimes involves live streaming to another location where bets often worth thousands of pounds are placed on the outcome.
Following thousands of incidents of hare coursing throughout autumn and winter, the CLA has updated its action plan this year which outlines how farmers, landowners, the police and Government can work collaboratively to bring those involved to justice.
The organisation is calling for tailored sentencing guidelines such as vehicle seizure and compensation paid to the landowner for any damage caused.
Click here to read the action plan in full.
Top Tips - what to do if you see hare coursing taking place
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.