Geraldine Gault, Police Support Volunteer T4004 from Wallingford (07767 693444 (Monday afternoons only)) has the following message for parishioners about the ongoing issue of hare coursing:
With the introduction of the Hunting Act 2004 in February 2005, all forms of hare coursing are banned in the UK.
Hares are in decline and their destruction is a concern. But with hare coursing there is also associated criminal damage – to fencing and hedging to gain access, and to the land with the indiscriminate use of vehicles. It is also not unusual for hare coursers to intimidate landowners and other users of the land, such as ramblers.
Hare coursing is a seasonal crime and usually begins as soon as crops are harvested. With an early harvest this year there have already been several reported incidents in South Oxfordshire and Vale of the White Horse.
How to recognise hare coursing
Hare coursers tend to travel in groups, usually in 4×4 vehicles (the Subaru is often the vehicle of choice), with dogs, which are generally lurchers. You might see them parked up by a field, gathering in a field, or walking in a line abreast across a field.
If you believe hare coursing is taking place
- call the police (999) from a safe location
- tell them what you have seen
- give them the location of the incident – try to be as precise as possible using land marks or road junctions
- say how many people are involved and give a good description, if you can
- describe any vehicles you have seen
- if possible, state how many dogs are involved
- if the suspects leave, try to determine their direction of travel
- do NOT approach the offenders yourself or put yourself at any risk.
Thames Valley Police take hare coursing very seriously and will respond to any incident.