Crackdown on hare-coursing

WILTSHIRE Police has promised to crack down on hare-coursing as part of a campaign against countryside crime.

Launching its year-long “shutting the gate on rural crime” initiative today on Wednesday, the Wiltshire Community Safety Partnership said there had been an increase in hare-coursing.

The activity involves a captured hare being released and chased by hunting dogs. Spectators then bet on, for example, the number of turns made by the hare, how long it takes the dogs to catch and kill it, or the direction in which it will next turn. Participants in Wiltshire have been identified from as far afield as Lincolnshire, Southampton and South Wales.

Sgt Vincent Logue, supervisor for the Wiltshire Police Rural Crime Team, said: “I am very pleased to support this campaign, which will highlight the issues faced by the rural community. We hope it will provide reassurance that we are acting in a co-operative and robust way. "I urge the public to call 999 if they suspect hare coursing is taking place in their area and not to approach perpetrators at any time for their own safety.”

Angus Macpherson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said: "In my Police and Crime Plan I highlighted the rural community as one with which I am very keen to consult.

“In the spring I will be conducting a rural crime survey with the help of the National Farmers' Union and the Country Land and Business Association. I want to hear from their members about their crime concerns, but I am also keen to hear from people in our villages who consider themselves to be part of the rural community."

Anyone with information about rural crime can pass it on to Wiltshire Police through Crimestoppers, or sign up to Farmwatch or Horsewatch - mutually beneficial schemes set up to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour in rural areas.

For more information, contact RuralCrimeTeam@wiltshire.pnn.police.uk.

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