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Hare coursing crackdown a positive start to the new year, says Uttlesford's MP



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New legislation to crackdown on illegal hare coursing has been welcomed by Uttlesford's MP, whose rural constituency has been blighted by the activity.

Conservative Kemi Badenoch, who represents Saffron Walden in parliament, said the announcement of greater police powers and tougher sentencing was a positive start to 2022.

“We hope these amendments will signal the start of a real crackdown on these organised gangs of criminals who break onto fields to let dogs loose to chase hares, causing huge damage to crops, farm property and wildlife, while intimidating people living in rural communities,” she said.

Hare coursing with dogs is illegal and Uttlesford is one of many rural areas in the country blighted by the 'sport' (54250760)
Hare coursing with dogs is illegal and Uttlesford is one of many rural areas in the country blighted by the 'sport' (54250760)

The new legislation has been set out by the Government as an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is currently progressing through the House of Lords.

The proposals include increasing the maximum penalty for trespassing in pursuit of game; new powers to disqualify offenders from owning or keeping dogs; two new offences of trespass with dogs to search or pursue a hare and being equipped to trespass with the intention of using a dog to search or pursue a hare, both punishable on conviction by an unlimited fine and/or up to six months in prison.

It is also proposed to give the courts new powers to order the reimbursement of the costs incurred by the police in kennelling dogs seized in connection with a hare coursing-related offence.

A dog in pursuit of a brown hare. (54250764)
A dog in pursuit of a brown hare. (54250764)

Added Mrs Badenoch: "Since my election in 2017 helping to tackle this illegal activity been one of my top priorities. For several years now I have had numerous round table discussions and events with local NFU (National Farmers' Union) representatives, Essex Police, local farmers and landowners who I know will welcome the greater power and tougher sentencing that has been announced.

“Our members have had to deal with the impact of illegal hare coursing - and its associated heinous activities - for far too long. They will be relieved that, after prolonged campaigning by the NFU and others, there is now light at the end of the tunnel.

"I will continue to do what I can to ensure these proposals move through parliament swiftly and that Essex Police have the resources and powers to continue to effectively tackle rural crime in our constituency."

Saffron Walden Constituency Tory MP Kemi Badenoch (54254229)
Saffron Walden Constituency Tory MP Kemi Badenoch (54254229)


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