Graham will be joined by the CLA, a representative from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office, the Holderness Farm Watch co-ordinator, the specialist Rural Crime police officer, East Riding of Yorkshire Councillors and local farmers.
Graham Stuart MP said;
“Hare-coursing is not only against the law itself, but the lawbreakers who travel into rural areas to carry it out leave a trail of devastation behind them. We need to make the countryside a no-go area for these criminals.”
“Farmers find stock disturbed, their crops ruined, fences broken, and farm equipment stolen. Despite the difficulties of policing rural areas, Humberside Police has a good record in catching and prosecuting these offenders, having specially trained rural crime officers, and an expert rural crime solicitor in the Crime Prosecution Service.”
“I applaud the CLA for focussing on this issue and bringing it to the national stage. I will do all I can to help stamp out this unacceptable crime.”
Hare-coursing is a rural crime where two dogs are used to chase a hare. Those involved trespass on land to film the dogs zig-zagging after the hare, and the course is over when one of the dogs turns the hare, or catches and kills it.
Criminals use their films in illegal betting dens. Punters bet on how many zig-zags the dogs make before turning the hare. The illegal betting can run into tens of thousands of pounds.
Not only is it illegal to take part in hare-coursing and the associated illegal betting, but the criminals who travel to the rural and flat areas suitable for hare-coursing, such as East Yorkshire, often commit other crimes while they are here – they trample crops and disturb stock, break down fencing and have been known to return later to commit other offences such as theft of machinery.
The effects on the livelihood of farmers form the focus of the CLA campaign, which not only calls for legislative change but aims to educate and inform rural residents on what to do if they come across illegal hare-coursing.