Lincolnshire Police dealt a crushing blow to one illegal hare courser on Thursday morning as they reduced his car to scrap.
The force invited the media to a Lincolnshire scrap yard where a vehicle seized for being involved in hare coursing was crushed.
The silver Honda CRV 4x4 is one of several that have been seized in recent weeks as part of the police’s ongoing efforts to tackle hare coursing.
Usually, the vehicles have to be held for many months awaiting a court destruction order but in this case the vehicle was uninsured enabling police to put the squeeze on without waiting for the outcome of court proceedings.
The vehicle was seized in Deeping St James last September.
On hand to watch were members of the force’s Operation Galileo team dedicated to tackling rural crime, as well as Assistant Chief Constable Paul Gibson, Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones and his deputy Stuart Tweedale, as well as chairman of the Lincolnshire NFU Mark Leggott.
PCC Marc Jones said: “This is the conclusion of a process where a hare courser has been apprehended, gone through the court process and their vehicle has been permanently seized and now crushed and it just goes to show the action we are prepared to take to deal with this very difficult problem.”
Although potentially a symbolic gesture he said it was important to show to the rural and farming community of Lincolnshire as well as to the hare coursers that action will be taken, and he added: “I fully support Lincolnshire Police in delivering a robust response.”
With reports of hare coursing on the increase he said the force was not ‘fighting a losing battle’, adding: “Other parts of the country are saying Lincolnshire is doing such a good job that the increase is going in their direction, so it is not all against us. But what is really difficult is we have seen an increase in the level of intimidation and people trying to get away from the police when they are challenged, largely because we are prepared to take their dogs away from them, and that has a real impact because they cannot course without those dogs. You can always buy another vehicle, but to train a dog and get it active in the way they need to takes a very long time.
“But the more cars we take off them the harder it is for them to come to Lincolnshire and do this.
Assistant Chief Constable Paul Gibson said it sends a very visible message: “We are taking this matter really seriously and wherever we can we will take action to seize the cars, seize dogs and seize other assets and to prosecute those who are illegally in the pursuit of hares.”
He admitted Lincolnshire is a large rural county to police but they have resources in place to tackle the offenders wherever possible and take every action they can to prosecute.
He said that on occasions the hare coursers are using intimidation and the force needed to be prepared to step up its fight against what they are doing in the county.
He said: “We have dedicated analysts, we have antisocial behaviour officers and other officers that are dedicated, but also we are sticking with the plan from last year that our mainstream response officers are equipped to deal with hare coursers as part of their daily business.
“We are working very closely with the NFU and other partners and, while we don’t always get it right, we are doing our very best to tackle this very serious problem. Today shows we will take action and take it very seriously.”