Men fined after being found guilty of hare coursing
Main article content
Two men from Wales have been fined for their involvement in hare coursing near Tewkesbury last year during a lockdown.
The duo appeared at Cheltenham Magistrates' Court last week where they were each fined £541.50 after being found guilty of hunting a wild mammal with a dog.
They were also ordered to have a thermal imaging camera and binoculars forfeited under section 9 of the Hunting Act 2004.
Hare coursing is the pursuit of hares with greyhounds and other sighthounds which chase the hare by sight, not by scent and often results in cruel and inhumane suffering and ultimately the death of the hare.
In court on Thursday (2 December), it was heard how police were called to an estate in Dumbleton near Tewkesbury on the morning of Wednesday 26 November 2020 after concerns were raised about the behaviour of the men.
A local game keeper had spotted the men and two dogs walking across a private field taking part in what looked like hunting.
Officers from the Tewkesbury Neighbourhood Policing and Specialist Operations teams attended and liaised with the game keeper as he had found a vehicle potentially belonging to the men parked down a country lane.
The pair were watched by officers who saw John Greedy, 19 and of Broadstreet Common in Cardiff looking through binoculars before releasing his dog to chase a hare.
Descriptions given by witnesses also allowed officers to also witness Dougie Whitbread, 21 and of Coldwell Terrace in Pembroke using a thermal imaging camera to look for more hares.
They returned to their vehicle when they were stopped by officers and items of hunting paraphernalia were seized under the Poaching Prevention Act.
The quick thinking actions of witnesses and officers stopped any hares from being killed by the men's dogs.
The men were also issued with Coronavirus tickets for leaving their homes without a reasonable excuse to be doing so.
PC Phil Mawdsley, from the Rural Crime and Tewkesbury Neighbourhood Policing teams said: "Hare coursing is a UK Wildlife Crime priority and this is one of the many successful prosecutions that we've had in Gloucestershire.
"Hare coursing is not welcome in our county and bringing offenders to justice is a priority for the Rural Crime Team.
"The team has recently been accepted to join a nationally led operation, called Operation Galileo, which aims to target illegal hare coursing and I hope that this case shows how seriously we treat the crime.
"This is the strongest that our rural community has been and I believe this is down to joint work to combat this crime and push criminality out of our county."