Officers use night vision goggles to stop hare coursers

Hare coursing continues to plague rural communities across the country
Hare coursing continues to plague rural communities across the country

Three hare coursers have been sentenced after police used night vision goggles to track them down in the middle of the act.

Officers were called shortly after 11.30pm on 16 September 2020 to reports of men with dogs on private land in Sharrington, near Melton Constable

Police attended the scene and discovered a silver Citroen car and a dead hare inside the vehicle.

Using night vision goggles, officers spotted two men with two Lurcher-type dogs hiding in the hedgerow.

Two men aged in their 30s, a man aged in his 20s and a teenage boy voluntarily attended Aylsham Police Investigation Centre where they were questioned about the incident.

William Mitchell, 36, Michael Travell, 35, and George Harber, 23, were reported for hunting a wild mammal with dogs contrary to the 2004 Hunting Act.

The trio appeared before Norwich Magistrates' Court on 12 May 2021 and pleaded guilty to one count of hunting a wild mammal with dogs.

All three were each fined £500 and ordered to pay £145 costs, and a victim surcharge of £50.

They were also given Criminal Behaviour Orders for three years, and a confiscation order was also made for three dogs which will now be rehomed.

The teenage boy was told no further action would be taken against him.

PC Chris Shelley, Norfolk Police's Rural Crime Officer, said hare coursing had a 'terrible impact' on rural communities.

"It damages property, threatens people's livelihoods and subjects people and families to fear and intimidation," he said.

"It's an issue we take very seriously and we will hold those responsible to account in order to prevent this happening in Norfolk.

"If you witness this crime in action or have information about illegal hare coursing, please share this with us so we can work together to catch those responsible."