Suffolk Constabulary are warning that strong action will be taken against those involved in hare coursing. Hare coursing is a blood sport illegal in the UK under the Hunting Act 2004, with anyone convicted of the offence liable to receive a fine of up to £5,000.
Reports of hare coursing have been rising in recent years. Although typically occurring on large tracts of land without standing crops, many are known to travel specifically to Suffolk from around the UK, due to the county’s wide open spaces and populations of brown hares.
Signs of activity to look out for include:
- 4×4 vehicles with dogs, particularly if they are being driven around fields. They may be seen driving slowly or parked on verges, field entrances. Sometimes they’ll park up on the edge of fields – away from public rights of way, to try and avoid being seen
- Estate cars could also be used, or vans with professional signs, so nothing should be discounted, if it looks out of place
- Traditionally offenders walk in a line across a field with their dogs, to flush hares, before releasing the hounds
- They will always use sight hounds, such as greyhounds, salukis and Lurcher types
Members of the public who witness hare coursing taking place are advised not to approach the participants but to phone the police immediately on 999.