Crime & Policing

DRIFFIELD: Men appear in court charged with hare coursing offences

On 18 April Paul Noon appeared at Beverley Magistrates Court in relation to hare coursing in the Driffield area in December 2017. He pleaded guilty to an offence of trespassing and an offence under the Game Act 1831. He was ordered to pay a total of £315.

Four men appeared at Beverley Magistrates Court on 18 April in relation to hare coursing in the Bainton area of Driffield in January 2018. All four pleaded guilty to offences of trespassing and offences under the Game Act 1831.

Between August 2017 and April 2018 Humberside Police received 508 reports of hare coursing across the force area. In the same period last year the figure was 538 reports.

The areas around Driffield, Goole, Holderness, Burringham and the Isle of Axholme are the areas they have had the most reports of harecoursing. It is an ongoing problem for this area due to the geography of the farm land being mainly flat and open with a healthy population of hares.

Offenders mostly travel to this area to commit their crimes and are often from the west and northern regions.

Operation Galileo is their response to tackling the issue of harecoursing and has resulted in a number of people appearing in court over the past few weeks.

Wildlife and Rural Crime officer Brandon Ward said: “Thankfully the harecoursing season is now at an end, but rest assured that if criminals come back to our area to commit crime and kill hares in our area when the season begins again at the end of the year, we will be actively looking to find them and bring them to justice.

“Protecting our wildlife and preventing wildlife crime is my priority and I will do everything in my power to stop people committing this barbaric offence.”

The stats:

  • 65 people have been dealt with by the police with several of these people being dealt with on more than one occasion.
  • 33 people have been reported for offences relating to hare coursing with 22 who have either appeared at court or are due to as there was insufficient evidence to prosecute in all cases.
  • 23 vehicles have been seized for various reasons with most scrapped or awaiting forfeiture by the courts.

Also being found guilty were:
David Andrew Bulman of Great Ayton was ordered to pay a total of £235. Adam Alcock of Great Ayton was ordered to pay a total of £235. Liam Bulman of Great Ayton was ordered to pay a total of £235. Thomas Hancock of Middlesborough was ordered to pay a total of £235

On 26 April six men appeared at Hull Magistrates Court in relation to hare coursing in the Preston are of the East Riding on January 2018. All six pleaded guilty to offences of trespassing and offences under the Game Act 1831.

John Langan of Middlesbrough was ordered to pay a total of £415. Ceri Mortimer of Rhonda , Wales was ordered to pay a total of £315. Jamie Prosser of Middlesbrough was ordered to pay a total of £345. William McElvaney of Whitby was ordered to pay a total of £281. Robert Ward of Darlington was ordered to pay a total of £348. Thomas Foster of Middlesbrough was ordered to pay a total of £281

‘Protecting our wildlife and preventing wildlife crime is my priority and I will do everything in my power to stop people committing this barbaric offence.’PC Brandon Ward – Humberside Police Wildlife and Rural Crime officer 

 

A further 8 men are currently in the court process and will be appearing later in the year.

Brandon Ward said, ‘Although the coursing season has finished the force will be using the time between now and July to plan for the next seasons start in July to look at other feasible options available such as the use of Criminal Protection Notices and Civil Injunctions against those involved in hare coursing and other wildlife crime in conjunction with Local Authorities.’

‘The results of Operation Galileo cannot be obtained without the help of the public reporting incidents and suspicious activity. Calls from the public really do make a difference, it provides important intelligence that helps us coordinate our resources to combat crime more effectively.

‘Farm Watch & Country Watch groups now operate throughout all the Humberside Police Area. These groups are the eyes and ears of our rural community. People entering our county will soon been picked up by the groups and text messages circulated regarding their activity.’

Wildlife and Rural Crime officer Brandon Ward  : Pictures ©2018 Mike Hopps/Wolds Weekly


Hare coursing facts

What is hare coursing? Hare coursing is the pursuit of hares using hounds. Participants spread in a line across a field and disturb the hare from its home. They then release their dogs to give chase. A bet is made on which dog will catch or turn the hare first with large sums of money changing hands.

Is hare coursing legal? No. The Hunting Act 2004 made hare coursing illegal. It is illegal to participate, attend, knowingly facilitate or permit land to be used for a hare coursing event. If you believe hare coursing is happening on your land then contact your local police force. Anyone convicted of the offence can be fined up to £5,000 by a magistrates’ court.

The Game Act of 1831 is also used to prosecute offenders but attracts penalties of up to £1,000. This offence is the easier of the two offences to prove.

What are the most obvious signs of hare coursing? A group of vehicles parked in a rural area perhaps by a gateway to farmland, on a grass verge, on a farm track or bridle path. They may contain evidence of dogs inside – such as muddy paw prints and dog hair.

Wildlife Crime – Humberside Police Wildlife and Rural Crime officer Brandon Ward  : Pictures ©2018 Mike Hopps/Wolds Weekly

What should you do if you suspect hare coursing on your farm? If you see an event taking place on your farm, call the police immediately by calling 101.

Do not approach the participants yourself.

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