Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Fears of rise in illegal hare coursing in East Anglian countryside

  • Click below to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Tanya Mercer

Warnings have been issued about a possible increase in illegal hare coursing in the East of England as the harvest gets underway.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) in the East fears there will be a rise in the crime where dogs are used to chase and kill hares as farmers and landowners begin clearing their land of standing crops during this year’s harvest.

The CLA says coursers take advantage of the wide open spaces, trespassing on private land in order to set their dogs on to hares – often betting thousands of pounds on the resulting chase.

Hare coursing is a rural crime where dogs are used to chase, catch and kills hares. Credit: Phil Noble/PA Archive

“Hare coursing is an abhorrent crime that many of our members have either been victims of, or live in fear of.

"Coursers often use threatening and intimidating behaviour, and in some cases violence, if they are approached which is wholly unacceptable.

“Many coursers travel long distances from other parts of the country to take part in this illegal activity, due in part to the large hare population in our region."

– Ben Underwood, CLA East Regional Director
Warnings have been issued about a possible increase in illegal hare coursing in the East of England as the harvest gets underway. Credit: Niall Carson/PA Archive

In Cambridgeshire in recent years there has been a threefold increase in hare coursing.

The county has a Rural Crime Action Team and a dedicated website to highlight and tackle all aspects of crime in the countryside.