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Police Warn Against Hare Coursing

Photo Credit: Ray Bilcliff

People in Highland Perthshire are being urged by Police Scotland to be wary of Hare Coursing and report any instances you witness.

Hare Coursing is predominantly a seasonal crime in which people use lurchers, greyhounds and whippet dogs to walk across fields and hunt hares.

Often multiple dogs chase one hare and for money to change hands depending on which dog kills the hare – allowing people to commit antisocial behaviour and financially benefit by treating this crime as sport.

This predatory act became illegal in Scotland in 2011 but continues to take place during the spring as crops emerge into fields and during late summer and early autumn when crops have been harvested.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said:

“I would urge anyone who wishes to report this type of crime; if they are a witness to this crime, or simply, if you are a farmer or a landowner and you’d like to report any suspicious activity or people on your land – particularly suspicious people with dogs such as lurchers or greyhounds – please contact police on 101.

If you witness anyone hare coursing, please consider the following when noting details:

  • What was it about their actions that alerted you?
  • What were the people doing, where were their dogs and what were they doing?
  • What did the dog look like? What markings did it have? Take a photograph if possible and safe to do so.
  • Get a comprehensive description of the people involved, how many, age height build, hair colour and style, clothing, anything distinctive?
  • Details of any vehicles used or parked nearby (particularly number plates) that may be linked to the offenders.”

Hare Coursing is a plague to farmers and rural areas nationwide with a recent survey being carried out by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS).

The Yorkshire area reported a staggering five incidents a day on average.

Farmer and YAS Show Director, Charles Mills, said:

“Hare coursing is an awful menace and I know my family is not alone in seeing our farm and our home targeted by criminals whose barbaric acts decimate wildlife – wildlife that we create vital habitats for as part of our approach to managing the landscape.

We want to show our support for other farming families who find themselves in similar situations and add our voice to calls for change.

What is so important is that when farmers report a live incident to police, they respond with due urgency. It would be of great reassurance if call handlers communicate consistently, providing clear information when officers are being dispatched so the farmer knows when they can expect police to arrive.

This crime isn’t going away, which is why the Yorkshire Agricultural Society is urging members to help us build up evidence about hare coursing to strengthen our case for this offence to be taken more seriously.”

If you witness Hare Coursing or have concerns about unauthorised people on your land – please contact Police Scotland on 101.

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