Suffolk Police, along with regional colleagues in Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, are today (Friday, September 6) launching ‘Operation Galileo’ for 2013 – a pro-active campaign against hare coursing.
Under the operation, all three forces will be taking strong action against those involved in this illegal activity and are warning those who choose to commit this offence that the vehicles they use could be seized and crushed.
This year’s campaign is being launched after harvest and will run until March 2014.
This is when hare coursers typically become active as large tracts of land are left without standing crops.
During this period, offenders are known to travel to the region from around the country to hunt hares with dogs.
Reports of hare coursing have been increasing in recent years and in the period September 2012 to March 2013, over 300 incidents were reported in Suffolk.
Officers in the county will be carrying out patrols in areas identified as potential targets for offenders and will be taking strong action against anyone found to be hare coursing.
Police will seek to prosecute those who are responsible and the vehicles used in such activities can be seized by police and could be crushed.
Assistant Chief Constable Tim Newcomb said: “Being a county with large rural areas, we are often targetted by hare coursers who trespass on private land to carry out this illegal activity.
“It can cause distress, alarm and inconvenience to our rural communities and we are committed to working with the public, and landowners in particular, to stop those responsible.
“It is extremely important that we work together to tackle this area of crime and I would ask that anyone who sees hare coursing being carried out to report it to police immediately.
“We want these people to know that these offences will not be tolerated, we will use our full powers to bring those responsible to justice and will seize and destroy any vehicles involved.”
A local landowner and member of the National Farmers’ Union said: “The farming community is fully supportive of this campaign, which will help protect our rural areas from the damage and financial cost that hare coursing can cause.
“We hope that it will send a message to hare coursers that this activity will not be accepted in our county and that our police force is taking strong action.”
Members of the public who witness hare coursing taking place are advised not to approach the participants but to phone police immediately on 101, or on 999 in an emergency.
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (September 12) Echo.