Police take to social media to answer questions about what they can and can’t do when tackling hare coursing

Suspected hare coursing Witchford. ThisHyundai was seized and the owner reported for the offence of

Suspected hare coursing Witchford. ThisHyundai was seized and the owner reported for the offence of driving whilst uninsured. - Credit: Archant

Police have taken to social media to answer questions about what they can and can’t do when taking action against hare coursers.

Officers took the time to respond to almost every question on the Facebook page Policing East Cambridgeshire following a post about an incident of suspected hare coursing in the Witchford area.

An uninsured Hyundai Sante Fe 4x4 was seized and a driver reported as a result of the incident. It follows reports of a rise in reports of hare coursing in the Littleport and Little Thetford areas.

“None of the three males found in attendance of the 4x4 were from the local area - one from South Yorkshire, the other two from Essex,” said police.

“Although not found in possession of dogs it was suspected that the three men had attended for the purposes of coursing.”

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One woman said: “This was the car I reported as they drove it into out depot as they had broke the wheel. It had two greyhounds in the back, and the officers never came to see our CCTV which would prove they had dogs.”

The police replied: “We don’t doubt that they had dogs and we’re grateful for your support. The nature of the offence regarding hare coursing needs evidence of the use of the dogs on private land.

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“The account detailed didn’t intend to give the impression that simply associating the persons intercepted with dogs would’ve lead to a more severe offence.

“Your report was invaluable to us and we really appreciate you helping us to respond to these situations. It’s an on-going battle - but we can’t get ahead of these things without support from people like you.”

When another person questioned what powers the police have, they replied: “Code G of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act doesn’t support the arrest of suspects in this situation.

“But the driver has been reported for summons, and the details of all the persons involved have been identified.”

A third person asked whether it was likely the dogs were dumped, adding that they had previously re-homed a dog who was thrown out of a car and left outside their cottage by coursers.

The police replied: “Sadly a very real possibility. Hare coursing is a blood sport and it is practised by people who show absolute disregard for animals - so sadly this is not impossible.

“Many dogs are found and recovered and the RSPCA do a fabulous job of re-housing many of them.”

The police also explained why they blank out number plates in such cases.

“We don’t habitually publish number plate details - if this vehicle doesn’t get crushed, and goes back into circulation, we wouldn’t want an innocent law abiding owner later down the line having their vehicle associated with this offence. Images on the internet have a way of resurfacing.”

Police also addressed what happens to vehicles involved in such incidents: “In order to reclaim the vehicle the keeper will need to obtain insurance. He will also need to pay fees to recover the vehicle and it’s storage at our recovery agent.”

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