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Hertfordshire Constabulary crack down on Hertfordshire hare coursing
Police officers are preparing for crack-down on hare coursing in rural areas of Hertfordshire over the coming weeks.
Hertfordshire Constabulary said the county traditionally attracted people from across the country to take part in the banned blood sport around this time of year.
The activity, which has been illegal in the UK since 2005, involves a hare being pursued by a greyhound. If the hare is caught by a dog it is usually killed.
Police said illegal gambling is usually at the heart of the sport and in previous hare coursing busts officers had recovered thousands of pounds from participants.
Hertfordshire Constabulary also warned that in the past the events had also caused damage to fences, gates and hedges by spectators trying to gain entry onto fields and then additional damage was often caused by vehicles driving on the land over any remaining crops.
Sergeant Jamie Bartlett, who leads the county’s Rural Operational Support Team, said: "Not only do illegal coursers and poachers trespass on private land, damage crops and property, but they also often steal property and can be abusive and intimidating to those who challenge them.
"There is also the matter of animal cruelty, frequent illegal gambling, driving stolen vehicles and using red diesel.
"With the advent of the new season upon us, I would like to reassure farmers and those who live and work in rural areas that we will be putting on extra patrols in areas where hare coursing is likely to take place."
Anyone caught hare coursing could face a fine of up to £5,000 and even imprisonment.
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