Hare coursers handed ASBOs in crackdown

TWO hare coursers have been handed ASBOs to stop them practicing the illegal sport on farmland in Cambridgeshire.

George Lee, 24, and John Bruce, 39, both of Belvedere, Kent, were caught hare coursing on land near Littleport on Wednesday, December 27, by Cambridgeshire police Rural Community Action Team (RCAT).

The pair were spotted by a member of the public, and were arrested with help from the force's helicopter.

They were fined £650 and ordered to pay £60 costs when they appeared at Cambridge Magistrates' Court earlier this month, and have now been given post-conviction ASBOs which ban them from entering Cambridgeshire, Suffolk or Norfolk to take part in sport with dogs.

In a separate incident, four men from County Durham, were reported to the court on suspicion of hare coursing following an incident in Swaffham Prior on December 28.

Sgt Ed McNeill, who leads Operation Dornier, the crackdown on hare coursing in Cambridgeshire, said: "These latest incidents show hare coursing is still a problem and there are a number of people who still think it is acceptable to break the law by taking part.

"I would say to those people that our hard work will continue and we will catch you. Hare coursing is not only illegal but also extremely disruptive for the rural community."

RCAT has been boosted by the addition of a new officer, PCSO Tim Gawler, who swells the team to seven.

Sgt McNeill added: "The force takes rural issues extremely seriously and we are committed to reducing crime in and around the rural areas of the county."

Operation Dornier has been one of the force's success stories over the last year, leading to a 97 per cent fall in hare coursing incidents since it started in 2004, compared to the previous two years.

Anyone with any information about hare coursing can call the RCAT hotline on (01480) 422700