The Rural Engagement Team tackle hare coursing
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The Rural Engagement Team have been out on patrol and responding to hare coursing incidents across the county. As the fields get harvested, they increasingly become targeted but those involved in the illegal sport.
In the last two weeks we have had 32 incidents reported to us and the team have seized a number of vehicles, reported drivers for various traffic offences, and reported several people for hare coursing with enquires ongoing. They have helped to rehome abandoned coursing dogs that were being mistreated and are working closely with landowners and local communities to help increase reporting.
PC Matt Harkness, from the Rural Engagement Team, said: “Overall we’ve seen a 17 percent reduction in hare coursing reports over the last year and we are working to keep improving on this.
“It not only affects the landowners, but the bigger picture includes incidents of vandalism of property, theft of farm plant, and road traffic offences. This all has a detrimental effect and has impacted on the wider local community.”
Hare coursing causes significant disruption and damage, resulting in young crops and the ground being destroyed, which has a potential financial loss for farmers. This activity is an ongoing concern for those living and working in the countryside.
PC Harkness added: “We are working closely with the local rural and farming communities as well as partner agencies to combat this issue. I’m pleased to say that the information we receive really has helped the team, and I’d asked you to please continue to assist us and combat this illegal activity.
“We would ask that if you see coursing in progress, dogs chasing hares, or people breaking into land to course, then please call 999 immediately, giving as much detail as possible as to what you are witnessing.
“This needs to include vehicle details, descriptions of those responsible if possible, and location of where the incident is taking place. If the report is second hand or a few hours old then, please still report this online to us at www.essex.police.uk."
All incidents reported to us help us to build a better intelligence picture of what’s happening and who’s involved so we can then police the rural areas of Essex more effectively, and deal robustly with those responsible.
(Photo: Pc Matt Harkness by Liv Bawden)
*The year period referred to is 12 months to July 2020
*The two-week period is from 6 August to 19 August