We Don't Want People Like You, Court Tells Hare Coursers
ELY magistrates had a blunt message for two illegal hare coursers this week: We do not want people like you in Cambridgeshire. The two men had been part of a four-man expedition on a Sunday afternoon, where police saw a lurcher dog chasing a brown hare
ELY magistrates had a blunt message for two illegal hare coursers this week: "We do not want people like you in Cambridgeshire."
The two men had been part of a four-man expedition on a Sunday afternoon, where police saw a lurcher dog chasing a brown hare and found three more dogs in a vehicle.
Both men, who appeared in court on Thursday, had travelled from Kent to take part in the illegal activity.
Presiding magistrate Sue Griffin told them: "You have no place here. You came to pursue an animal that is becoming rarer and rarer, and to trespass on land belonging to others. We don't want you here, don't come back."
One of the men, 46-year-old William Smith from Gravesend, was fined £500 and banned from driving for six months.
Eighteen-year-old William Cook from Longfield was fined £100. Both must pay £60 costs and a £15 surcharge. They had admitted trespass in pursuit of game, and Smith further admitted driving on the land.
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Prosecuting, Emma Dmitriev said the landowner of Vicarage Farm, Swaffham Prior, had called police to land alongside Heath Road on April 20, after receiving a tip off about hare coursing.
Officers saw a man let a lurcher off a lead, it chased a hare, but the animal escaped.
"Twenty-per-cent of the brown hare population is in East Anglia, and is in serious decline," she said. "Conservationists are worried, and landowners are culling hares to stop poaching on their land."
Solicitor Michael Judkins claimed the hare coursing trip had been orchestrated by another person, who owned the Toyota four-wheel drive estate Smith had been driving.
Cook had been naïve, and had simply been invited to go "rabbiting," he said. The teenager had not known he would be trespassing on private land.
Smith, who had previous convictions for poaching, had gone to observe a betting match, and not to participate, said Mr Judkins. He had not owned the dogs or the vehicle.
The court issued a warrant for the arrest of two more men accused of illegal hare coursing on the same occasion, Lee Harber, 24, of Dartford; and John Reading, 24, of Croydon.