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Farmers in Lincolnshire are being offered help and support as they deal with a surge in hare-coursing which is causing damage to property...


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Farmers in Lincolnshire are being offered help and support as they deal with a surge in  hare-coursing which is causing damage to property and people.

It follows a rising number of hare-coursing incidents across the region in recent weeks. The illegal activity has been accompanied by threats, abuse and assaults on farmers, with one victim even being knocked over by a vehicle.

Farmers have reported being “plagued” by coursers on a daily basis, with huge damage to crops and fields caused by vehicles driven at break-neck speed and gate locks broken “as soon as we replace them”.

Help and advice

One farmer, who asked not to be named, victim said: “In just the last year I’ve been threatened multiple times, verbally abused and even knocked over in my own yard as they drove through like lunatics while trying to escape from neighbouring land.

Rather than suffering in silence, the Lincolnshire Rural Support Network (LRSN) and the NFU are advising families affected by threats and acts of violence, vandalism and theft to seek help.

LRSN charity leader Amy Thomas said: “Violence and criminal behaviour on victims can be very difficult to cope with and they affect different people in different ways.

“Facing a violent, abusive or threatening criminal on your own premises could have profound effects on the wellbeing of you, your family and staff, so having someone to talk to and help your recovery from these traumatic experiences is where LRSN can help. 

Devastating impact

“We’re here to support Lincolnshire’s rural and farming community through all sorts of challenges; hare-coursing incidents and their associated effects can be devastating, and we are here to listen and help.”

NFU county adviser for south Lincolnshire Johanna Musson said: “This surge in hare coursing shows there is a determined, hardcore of offenders driving this activity forward – and they’re hell bent on carrying on.”

“Lincolnshire Police is recruiting the final members of its new rural crime action team and there are tougher laws surrounding hare-coursing being discussed, but this situation is happening in Lincolnshire’s fields right now.

“Our farmers and growers need the public to help report suspected hare coursers to police, without putting themselves at risk, to help stamp out this barbaric crime.”

What to look out for

  • Groups of vehicles parked in a rural area eg by a gateway to farmland, on a grass verge, on a farm track or bridle path
  • Racing dogs and sighthounds like lurchers, whippets and greyhounds
  • Vehicles travelling in convoy, with vans at the front and rear containing minders
  • People using binoculars to spot hares
  • People walking the edge of a field to frighten a hare into the open

What to do next

  • Ring 999 if hare coursing is taking place
  • Take photos or videos, but only if you can do so safely