Lincolnshire Police has launched its annual Operation Galileo to tackle and reduce incidents of hare coursing across the county.
Inspector Andy Ham said: “Hare coursing, as well as being illegal, causes disruption and alarm to members of our rural communities. Evidence shows that people who participate in it are mainly involved in other forms of criminal activity and they usually come from outside Lincolnshire.
“During what has become known as the hare coursing ‘season’, which lasts from around September to March, the number of reported incidents increased steadily each year until last season”.
Last year a newly formed dedicated Operation Galileo Team dealt with a record number of offenders. 186 men were prosecuted, usually under the Gaming or Hunting Acts, and another 100 were given warnings prior to commencing any coursing. Consequently the number of incidents reported to Lincolnshire police was reduced by around 250, and was the lowest recorded number for at least five years. The same period also saw a dramatic reduction in distraction burglaries in the County.
“Having a dedicated team enables us to not only respond quickly to reports and calls from the public, but it also improves the way in which we gather intelligence and analyse patterns. It consequently helps us deploy our policing resources to maximum effect.
“So following on from last year we will have a slightly increased dedicated team to respond to hare coursing incidents, which in turn will hopefully impact on other rural crime issues”.
Inspector Ham urges everyone to contribute to the police’s ability to deal with offences by being vigilant and reporting any suspicious activity to them.
“No-one knows the countryside better than the communities themselves. The public are best placed to notice unfamiliar people and vehicles, and thereforeto provide the team with intelligence about crimes blighting Lincolnshires rural areas. Please contact the police to report suspicious activities straight away. Within the team we have an analyst and the more information we get fed in to that analytical process the better we can respond operationally”.
Ideally, take note of vehicle registrations, times and specific locations. However, even information such as the make, colour and direction of travel of vehicles can be extremely valuable to us, as every piece of information is like a piece of a puzzle and can help us to build up a picture of what the hare coursers are doing and where they are targeting.
Obviously, should you witness hare coursing actually taking place, please ring 999 so that the team is given the opportunity of apprehending the persons.