As the hare coursing season begins this year police officers in Lincolnshire are promising to crack down on the crime.

Lincolnshire Police has set up a deidicated team to tackle it. Operation Galileo has been designed to make it easier for the Force to respond to cases and bring offenders to justice.

During the Hare Coursing season, which lasts from around September to March, the number of incidents has increased each year. Hare Coursing, as well as being illegal, causes disruption, inconvenience and alarm to members of our rural communities. Evidence shows that the type of people who participate in it are often involved in other forms of criminal activity and in the main come from outside of Lincolnshire, regularly as repeat offenders. Having a dedicated team will enable us to not only respond quickly to reports and calls from the public, but it will also mean that we can improve the way in which we gather intelligence, monitor activities, patterns and locations, and consequently plan our policing activities and resources for maximum effect.

The team is made up of a Sergeant and six Police Constables, one of whom will be the Force Wildlife Officer, and one a Dog Handler.

We are determined to tackle this crime proactively and want to send out a strong message to criminals that Lincolnshire is not an easy target for their activities. We are seeking to disrupt their networks and deter them from blighting our countryside with their crimes". Inspector Ham urges everyone to contribute to the police's ability to deal with offences by being vigilant and reporting any suspicious activity to them. "No-one knows the countryside better than the communities themselves and they are best placed to notice unfamiliar people, vehicles and suspicious activities. Please contact the police to report these straight away. Ideally, take note of vehicle registrations, times and specific locations. However, even information such as the make, colour and direction of travel of vehicles can be extremely valuable to us, as every piece of information is like a piece of a puzzle and can help us to build up a picture of what the Hare Coursers are doing and where they are targeting.