Man to pay thousands after admitting hare coursing charges
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A man has been told to pay thousands after admitting trespassing on private land and using dogs to chase and kill hares in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire.
Following a report of hare coursing in Low Road, Crowland, on 13 November, officers from our Rural Crime Action Team attended and located the suspect who appeared to be equipped with dogs on the land.
Fred Holmes, aged 60, was subsequently charged with trespass in pursuit of hare and going equipped for trespass.
During our investigation it became apparent that he was also suspected of hare coursing in Warmington, Northamptonshire, on 23 October last year.
We joined forces with Northamptonshire Police to conduct a full investigation.
Holmes was already subject to a community protection notice in Northamptonshire after committing similar offences previously, and his three lurcher-type dogs were seized alongside his mobile phone.
The joint force investigation resulted in Holmes, of Thorney Road, Eye, Peterborough, being charged with two counts of trespass in pursuit of game, and two counts of being equipped to trespass in pursuit of hares.
Despite initially denying the Northamptonshire offences, at Boston Magistrates’ Court on Friday, November 10, he entered guilty pleas to all four counts.
As a result, a deprivation order was made against Holmes, which saw him forfeit the three dogs, which will now be rehomed, the Citroen car he used during the offences, and also a thermal imaging device found in his vehicle thought to have been used by him to locate hares.
Holmes was also ordered to pay £16,783.50 for the kennel costs of keeping the three dogs since their seizure, as well as fines for the two trespass offences and two victim surcharges, making a total of £18,557.50.
He was also banned from keeping dogs for 10 years, and made subject to a three-year criminal behaviour order which prevents him from entering any private land in Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire or Cambridgeshire with a sighthound, greyhound, long dog or lurcher type dog or cross breed, or being in the company of anyone with this kind of dog on private land, during the recognised hare coursing season (July 31 – April 30).
Sergeant Debbie Nunn, of Lincolnshire Police, said: “This is a fantastic result and credit goes to all of those involved.
“We’d like to say thank you to the members of the community for reporting this incident to us, your assistance is vital to our investigations.
“We hope this sends a strong message that we will take robust action to prevent and disrupt those involved in rural crime, which is often linked to other forms of criminality.”
We continue to work with partner agencies including the CLA and NFU to disrupt and deter hare coursers.
PC Chloe Gillies, of the Rural Crime Team at Northamptonshire Police, said: “The actions of Fred Holmes in allowing his dogs to chase and kill hares were cruel and illegal.
“He deliberately trespassed onto private land to break the law, causing fear and concern to the landowners, and then lied repeatedly to the police about what he was doing.”
Our Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT) has been put in place to patrol and target rural crime including hare coursing, wildlife crime, arson, burglary and theft. They also offer crime prevention advice.
As part of our force priorities, we continue with Operation Galileo to tackle rural crime. Operation Galileo is supported by a total of 32 forces nationally and works with partner agencies to deter and disrupt criminality such as hare coursing.
We continue to investigate all reports of rural crime.
However, we want to warn members of the public not to approach anyone you suspect of hare coursing, and please do not put yourself at risk.
If you see any live incidents of hare coursing taking place, please call us on 999, and note any vehicle descriptions or number plates, if you can.
If you have any other information to help us tackle hare coursing in our county, please call us on 101