Wiltshire Police on hare coursing alert after Atworth incident

Wiltshire Times: Wiltshire Police on hare coursing alert after Atworth incident Wiltshire Police on hare coursing alert after Atworth incident

Wiltshire Police have been alerted to two incidents of hare coursing in Melksham and Warminster during the last week.

Hare coursing, which was made illegal in 2005, involves the pursuit of hares using greyhounds, with bets made on which dog will catch the hare first.

Offenders often commit criminal damage to fences, crops and land in the process.

Police received a report of hare coursing from a member of the public on Monday at 11pm in fields near Stonar School in Melksham, with officers stopping four men from Bristol.

They had several dogs and also had high-powered torches. The men were given anti-social behaviour warning notices and their details were sent to Wiltshire Council.

Sgt Vincent Logue, of the Wiltshire Rural Crime Team, said: “An incident of night-time poaching was reported late on Monday night in the Atworth area by a vigilant member of the public.

“Police attended and stopped several males from Bristol in the area who were suspected of poaching. Unfortunately there was not enough evidence to pursue a prosecution but they were all given an ASB warning notice.

“Hare coursing in Wiltshire is a seasonal problem which starts as soon as crops are cut and runs throughout the year until the crops are high again.

“Almost all of those who engage in this criminal activity come from outside Wiltshire from places such as Bristol, South Wales, Hampshire, Surrey and Lincolnshire.

He added that the number of hare coursing incidents varies per month and not all are reported to the police, but in October this year Wiltshire Police received 50 reports which were attended.

Another incident occurred on a farm in Horningsham, Warminster, at around 4pm last Monday, when two 4x4 vehicles were reported driving on the land.

Insp Alan Webb said: “This continues to be an issue in our rural communities.

“Hare coursing is a blood sport and is a completely banned and illegal activity, yet it unfortunately remains a problem in Wiltshire.”


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