A convicted hare courser has now been been imprisoned following an investigation into a £100m drug dealing ring.
Thomas Jaffray, 35 from Middlesbrough, was jailed for 13 years and 4 months after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis, and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime.
The investigation was carried out by the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NW ROCU) as Mr Jaffray and eight others were jailed for a combined total of more than 100 years at Manchester Crown Court on 19 September.
The men had been caught supplying millions of pounds worth of drugs to contacts in the North East of England.
The court heard how the drugs ring was run like a business, with the men wooing clients with expensive trips where he touted for their business.
Jaffray was also convicted of a hare coursing offence in Digby Fen earlier this year, handed a fine and a Criminal Behaviour Order was imposed on him preventing him from coming to Lincolnshire with dogs that could be used for hare coursing.
Chief Inspector at Lincolnshire Police, Phil Vickers said: “For some time we have said that hare coursing can be linked to organised and serious crime and this conviction is another example of this.
“This was a major result for us as this was also the first time that we managed to rehome a dog that had been used for hare coursing. The dog in found in his possession was called Lucky and a court order saw it taken away and placed in the care of loving owners.
“We will continue to tackle hare coursing and take every opportunity to share intelligence with other force’s to ensure that any organised crime is fully exposed.”
The news follows farmers and landowners urging the police to take hare coursing seriously as a rural crime and prioritise tackling offenders as the new season kicks off.
Hare coursing is a rural crime where dogs are used to chase, catch and kill hares, with gambling on the outcome common practice.
The crime becomes more prevalent following harvest when large areas of arable land are cleared of crops, making it easier to travel across fields.
If you have information about hare coursing please call Crimestoppers on 0800 783 0137 to report anonymously. Alternatively call 101 or 999 if there is a risk to life.