Operation targets illegal hare coursing in Shropshire

West Mercia Police has joined a nationwide plan targeting criminals engaged in illegal hare coursing.

By working with 23 other forces, West Mercia will aim to end the activity through Operation Galileo.

Prevention will be the focus of the initiative, supported by more sophisticated prosecution and intelligence-gathering capabilities.

Hare coursing is a bloodsport where dogs are used to chase, catch and kill hares.

It is illegal in the UK under the Hunting Act 2004, which makes it an offence to hunt wild mammals with dogs. Anyone convicted of the offence can receive a fine of up to £5,000.

Legislation also gives police the powers to seize and detain vehicles until the court hearing.

Hare coursing tends to start after harvest, when large areas of land have been cleared of standing crops and usually occurs at dawn or dusk.

Shropshire's rural landscape makes it a popular area for hare coursing and attracts coursers from outside of the county.

Anyone who witnesses or suspects hare coursing taking place should contact the police on 101.

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