Hare coursers arrested after helicopter chase

PUBLISHED: 13:00 26 January 2006 | UPDATED: 11:28 04 May 2010

HARE coursers led police on a chase through two counties after they were seen releasing their dogs on a Littleport farm. The traveller cousins, both called Patrick Connors, led officers in a patrol car and the force helicopter along farm tracks from Hale

HARE coursers led police on a chase through two counties after they were seen releasing their dogs on a Littleport farm.

The traveller cousins, both called Patrick Connors, led officers in a patrol car and the force helicopter along farm tracks from Hale Fen, a court heard.

When the car caught up with their Nissan Patrol 4X4 vehicle, they did a U-turn and, despite the officers activating emergency lighting, the cousins drove on. A helicopter followed them onto the A142 road towards Ten Mile Bank and into Hilgay in Norfolk.

The pair were only stopped when officers called for help from Norfolk Police and they were finally arrested after heading down another farm track.

On Tuesday magistrates banned them from driving and confiscated their vehicle and their dogs to deter them from coming back into Cambridgeshire for hare coursing.

The cousins, aged 25 and 46, who live on a caravan site in Carshalton Road, Banstead, Surrey, admitted poaching on December 8. Connors, senior, also admitted failing to stop for police.

Prosecuting, Sally Rose, told the court that a landowner saw four men releasing three lurcher dogs on his land in pursuit of a quarry.

Roger Glazebrook, defending, told the court that it was the first time the pair had taken part in hare coursing.

"There is no evidence that there was a big chase or reckless driving," he said. "It was mainly along farm tracks. They were just trying to find a way out."

Magistrates fined both men £450 with £35 costs and disqualified them for driving for three months. Connors, senior, was also fined £150 for failing to stop for police.

Chairman of the bench, Sue Thompson, told them: "Obviously this issue has not got to you, but in Cambridgeshire we do not like hare coursers and poachers and we take a very dim view of people coming here for that purpose and deal very strongly with them. You used the vehicle to come up here and we think this might deter you from driving this way again."

n Patrick Delaney, 21, of Bishopsford Road, Morden, Surrey, also appeared before magistrates charged with poaching and escaping custody and had his case adjourned for one week when it is expected to be sent to Cambridge Crown Court.

Michael Connors, 28, from the caravan site in Carshalton Road, Banstead, Surrey, also charged with poaching and escaping custody, was said to be ill and unable to attend court.

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