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‘Spare the hare’ and crack down on cruel sport

John Freeman
Police are working with farmers in Wyre to crack down on illegal hare coursing.

Officers will be presenting farmers with signs to place on their land, warning potential hare coarsers that locals will be reporting them to the police.

Hare coursing sees dogs pitted against each other while chasing a hare across rural land, with the winner being determined by its speed and agility. The sport was made illegal in 2005 with the introduction of the Hunting Bill.

The signs – which bare the slogan ‘spare the hare’ will be erected on land in Preesall, Garstang, Pilling, Nateby, Eagland Hill, Bleasdale and Caldervale.

PCSO Natalie Johnstone, Over Wyre neighbourhood police team, said: “Due to its rural setting, a lot of people come to this area to try and carry out hare coursing. Even with the permission of the landowner, this is illegal.

“Not only is hare coursing cruel and against the law," she added, "it also brings the added risk of additional crime with it – hare coursers are usually trespassing, can commit criminal damage and may also carry out opportunistic crime such as thefts or burglaries.”

Rural residents and businesses that are members of Lancashire Police’s FarmWatch scheme will also receive text messages urging them to report hare coursers.

PCSO Johnstone added: “The signs and the text messages will raise awareness of the issue. The more people that we have helping us keep an eye out, the better we can be at preventing crime in Wyre.”

• Anyone with information about hare coursing, or any other rural crime, should contact police on 0845 1 25 35 45. Dial 999 in an emergency.