Hare coursing: illegal and barbaric. Picture: League Against Cruel Sports.
Police officers are on the look-out for illegal hare coursers and poachers after stopping and searching three men suspected of hunting with dogs at Birchington.
Officers from Kent Police Rural Partnership Team have stepped up the alert for such actitivies after the men were intercepted on private land off the A299 near Thanet Earth.
Police constable Darren Reed and acting sergeant Gary Hastings were on foot patrol when they confronted the trio and searched them and their car under the Poaching Prevention Act 1862.
Nothing was found but the men, who came from Ashford and Teynham, were warned about hare coursing, trespassing and potential crop damage following the incident on Friday (September 6).
A spokesperson for the League Against Cruel Sports said: “Hare Coursing is a crime that affects wildlife, farmers and communities in rural areas. Sadly despite being outlawed by the Hunting Act in 2004 the cruelty continues, with gangs travelling for hundreds of miles to descend on suitable venues and gamble large sums of cash on this barbaric blood sport.
“Hare coursing involves dogs being encouraged to chase, turn, catch and kill hares for sport. Post-mortems carried out on coursed hares show clear evidence of cruelty with injuries sustained before death including punctured lungs, broken ribs and internal bleeding.”
Kent Police are urging rural communities to be alert for hare coursing and other illegal activities. Picture: League Against Cruel Sports.
Kent Police runs regular operations and works with the rural community to target crime. In addition to illegal hare coursing and hunting, criminals may also be looking to steal metal and fuel and carry out burglaries.
They are urging people in rural communities to report anything suspicious.
Acting Sgt Hastings outlined possibilities. He said: “The most common tell-tale sign is a vehicle or group of vehicles parked on grass verges, in gateways, in lay-bys, or on farm tracks, bridleways and footpaths.
“The vehicles are predominantly 4x4s, vans or estate cars and most will have evidence such as dog hairs or muddy paw prints.
“You will often be able to see people in a line about 20-30 metres apart walking through fields with dogs trying to raise the hare or game so they can release the dogs.
“It is a difficult job to prove the offence so note any evidence such as hares running away, evidence of hunting such as blood around the dog’s mouth as well as damage caused to crops and so on.
“Please pass any information on to us.”
If a crime is in progress call 999, if the suspicious people have gone then call 101.