Coursers are given ASBOs

MAGISTRATES have slapped an ASBO on two men caught hare coursing in Littleport a couple of days after Christmas. The police helicopter was scrambled when the coursers were seen with four dogs on land at Seventh Drove Farm – and when they were stopped shor

MAGISTRATES have slapped an ASBO on two men caught hare coursing in Littleport a couple of days after Christmas.

The police helicopter was scrambled when the coursers were seen with four dogs on land at Seventh Drove Farm - and when they were stopped shortly afterwards, police found a dead hare in the back of their vehicle.

"Hare coursing is unwelcome, groups of people come on to land with vehicles and dogs and engage in sport to the detriment of the land," Ely magistrates were told by prosecutor Matthew Bradbury on Thursday.

"It causes damage to gates and entry ways, and, on occasion, results in confrontation between local people and hare coursers."


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The police campaign named Operation Dornier had greatly reduced the problem of hare coursing, he added, and both courts and the Crown Prosecution Service have taken "a robust" attitude to the activity.

On September 27, George Lee, 25, and John Bruce, 38, were seen walking on farmland, and the farmer found a vehicle parked at Grapevine Farm. Four dogs were with the men, and a light-coloured dog was seen chasing a hare.

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When arrested, both Lee, of Gravesend, and Bruce, of Belvedere, were evasive about their names, but after fingerprints were taken they admitted their identity.

Mitigating, Jacqui Baldwin said the men had planned to get permission to hunt vermin. But they did not have permission from the farmer when they were tempted to use the dogs to catch hares. Both had previous convictions for hare coursing in Cambridgeshire

Fining both men £650 with £60 costs and imposing an ASBO that banned them from taking part in any sport with dogs in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk or Suffolk, presiding magistrate Mary Rone told them: "This court does not look favourably on hare coursers coming into this county, you are not welcome when you commit these offences."

She said the ASBO was necessary to protect the local community.

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