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Illegal hare coursers find it’s a crushing experience
More than 100 hare coursers have been caught in Cambridgeshire this season – and 15 of their vehicles have been crushed.
The illegal sport attracts hundreds of hunters to the region from around the country during the hunting season which runs from August until April.
The high-stakes betting competition sees dogs unleashed and the animal that catches most hares in a day wins.
Yesterday, one car seized by police and ordered by the courts to be destroyed was smashed up at Welney Farms, off the A14 near Dry Drayton.
Officers from the Rural Community Action Team (RCAT) have held the Vauxhall Astra since catching three people hare coursing at Six Mile Bottom on August 20. Joseph Smith, 51, of Paddock Wood, Kent, William Smith, 42, of Willingham Avenue, Hastings, and Buddy Jarrett, 19, of Atterbury Close, Westerham, Kent, had travelled up to Cambridgeshire from East Sussex.
They were convicted at Ely Magistrates’ Court on January 6 and the car was ordered destroyed.
Smith and Kent were both fined £300, ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. Both were also given a six-month driving ban. Jarrett was fined £100, ordered to pay £100 costs and £15 victim surcharge. He was given a three-month driving ban.
All had pleaded guilty to illegal hare coursing.
Pc Robin Smith, who was there to watch the car being crushed, said: “Since the start of the season in August we have caught 112 hare coursers. They come from around the country because of the flat land around here which means they get good views of the course.
“They bet on which dog kills the most hares in one day and there is a lot of money involved.”
“The victims of this crime are the landowners and farmers who can have crops and fencing destroyed when the hare coursers drive onto the land.”
“We take this type of crime very seriously and this should send out a strong message that anyone who comes to Cambridgeshire to hare course is in danger of having their car seized and subsequently crushed.”