Magistrates Warn Poachers To Stay Away From Ely or Face Heavy Penalities

ANY poacher appearing in court at Ely will face a heavily penalties, city magistrates vowed this week. Three men who were found with two dogs and a dead hare appeared in court on Thursday – all were banned from driving for six months and must pay �450.

ANY poacher appearing in court at Ely will face a heavily penalties, city magistrates vowed this week.

Three men who were found with two dogs and a dead hare appeared in court on Thursday - all were banned from driving for six months and must pay �450.

"We don't want groups such as yourselves coming to this area to hare course or poach and commit offences," warned presiding magistrate Mary Rone.

"In this county we have innumerable cases of this sort, of groups of people coming into this county for the sole purpose of committing offences for which you have been charged.


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"Let it be known through your circles that if you come to this court you will be dealt with harshly."

Aaron Gardener, 28, of Hailsham, Sussex; George Stevens, 21, of Romford; and Gordon Thompson, 56, of Croydon, all admitted daytime trespass in pursuit of game, committed at Sterling Farm in Swaffham Prior on November 22. They were each fined �350 with a �15 surcharge and �85 costs.

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A member of the public had alerted police after seeing three men hare coursing between Swaffham and Burwell, said prosecutor Sally Rose.

They were seen driving away from a car park, and stopped by officers. A search of the vehicle revealed two lurcher type dogs hidden in the boot, and a dead hare under the passenger seat. Police seized the vehicle.

Thompson told magistrates he had gone to Devils Dyke to see one of the other defendant's dog chasing rabbits.

"We were exercising the dogs for 20 minutes before going home," he claimed. "There was no intention to do hare coursing." He had found a badly injured hare and killed it to feed to his birds.

Stevens said he had not gone to the farm to run hares, and Gardener said he was a rabbiting man, and would never intentionally kill a hare.

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