Hare coursing incidents reduced

PUBLISHED: 11:06 23 March 2006 | UPDATED: 13:20 04 May 2010

FARMERS are reporting major progress in the fight against illegal hare coursers bringing violence and intimidation to Cambridgeshire farms. A National Farmers Union survey confirms a dramatic fall in the number of hare coursing incidents in the wake of O

FARMERS are reporting major progress in the fight against illegal hare coursers bringing violence and intimidation to Cambridgeshire farms.

A National Farmers Union survey confirms a dramatic fall in the number of hare coursing incidents in the wake of Operation Dornier, launched by Cambridgeshire police in September 2004.

Almost all the farmers questioned - 97 per cent - said Operation Dornier had improved the situation. Collectively they had experienced 56 incidents of hare coursing compared with more than 700 incidents reported in an NFU survey two years ago.

Many respondents said police had been quick to attend incidents and welcomed the impact of Operation Dornier.

But the survey also revealed some concerns about co-operation with neighbouring police forces and lack of awareness of a police hotline set up to gather intelligence on hare coursing and other rural crimes.

NFU regional director Pamela Forbes said: "This survey is in complete contrast to our 2004 survey, which revealed widespread anger and frustration among our members - and a perception that police were indifferent to crimes committed by coursing gangs.

"Since then a huge amount of hard work, imaginative thinking and effective policing has gone into tackling this problem.

Sgt Ed McNeill of the Rural Community Action Team said: "The work of Operation Dornier team, and more recently work of the RCAT, has continued to ensure that hare coursing remains at its lowest for years, with two incidents reported in January 2006, compared with 55 in January 2005 and 155 in January 2004.

"By confiscating cars and seizing dogs, we have made life very difficult for the coursers and the message appears to be getting through - we will not tolerate hare coursing in Cambridgeshire."

So far this year 15 people have been reported or arrested for hare coursing in the county, with six dogs and two vehicles seized.

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