A joint initiative to tackle hare coursing across the East of England has led to the first person to be fined for breaching a Community Protection Notice (CPN) served under the scheme.
Sydney Samuels, 33, of Maidstone, was handed a £400 fine when he appeared at Medway Magistrates’ Court last month.
He is the first person to have been taken to court for breaching his CPN which was served to him as part of Operation Galileo, which primarily aims to combat hare coursing.
In order to support the national initiative, Kent Police and six other forces started to work collaboratively in August 2021.
Officers first warned Mr Samuels in August 2021 following seven reports of suspected poaching taking place at Neats Court in Queenborough.
In November 2021, he was issued with a CPN after being stopped while in a vehicle in Eastwood Road. The car was searched under the Poaching Prevention Act 1862 and inside officers found dogs and deceased rabbits.
The CPN contained several conditions, including not being allowed to be on private land without the owner’s written permission, not being allowed to have dogs off-lead and not being allowed to be in possession of a catapult or air weapon.
In January 2022, officers were told of two men being seen with dogs on private land near Old Ferry Road, Iwade. They attended and searched the area and found a flatbed truck where a deceased rabbit was found.
The police officers stopped two men, one of whom was Mr Samuels, and he was arrested for again breaching the CPN.
Following Mr Samuels’ recent court appearance, he was also issued with a three-year Criminal Behaviour Order, which contained conditions to prohibit poaching. If this is breached this can result in a custodial sentence.
The agreement, which has been completed with the support of the Crown Prosecution Service, has allowed the seven forces to work as one when exercising certain powers.
This includes sharing interactions and movements, the use of automatic number plate recognition and seizing dogs.
Sergeant Darren Walshaw, of Kent Police’s Rural Task Force said: "This latest court action shows how the use of the anti-social behaviour legislation can help to bring repeat offenders to justice.
"The latest order will help to restrict the suspect’s ability to commit these types of offences in the future and will lead to a custodial sentence if he ignores it.
"The initiative has allowed us to use anti-social behaviour legislation across the counties which means that someone who is found to be committing hare coursing offences across several borders will be dealt with."