Two men have been ordered to pay more than £12,000 after appearing in court charged with hare coursing offences under new laws.
Darren Lee, 26, and Ronnie Doherty, 21, were the first people to be convicted in Lincolnshire under new and tougher legislation introduced in August last year.
The pair were ordered to pay an equal share of £11,144 kennelling and veterinary costs for four sighthounds which officers seized from them on 25 August, when they appeared at Boston Magistrates Court on 7 March 2023.
The men were initially arrested in the Holbeach area after we received several reports of hare coursing in Gedney and West Pinchbeck on 25 August, 2022. They were released on police bail and later charged.
Lee, of Top Road, Barnacle, and Doherty, of Newton Road, Rushden, Northamptonshire, were also ordered to permanently forfeit the dogs and disqualified them from owning or keeping dogs for five years, suspended until March 31 to enable them to rehome their pets.
They both pleaded guilty to two charges of trespass with intent to pursue hares with dogs. This is new legislation that came into force on 1 August last year, which makes it an offence to go equipped for, search for, or pursue hares with dogs, and an offence to trespass with intent to search for or pursue hares with dogs.
The new law also allows courts to order a reimbursement of the costs of kennelling which is paid for by the police.
Chief Inspector Steve Williamson, force lead for rural crime, said: “This is the first sentence we have had in the county under the new legislation and the result will be welcomed by all. Our Rural Crime Action Team, which is committed to bringing rural crime offenders to justice, will continue to patrol rural areas and our officers will continue to attend reports of hare coursing. We’d like to say thank you to the members of the community for reporting this incident to us, your assistance is vital to our investigations. We hope this sends a strong message that we will take robust action to prevent and disrupt those involved in rural crime, which is often linked to other forms of criminality.”
Lee and Doherty were also both fined £416 for each of two offences and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £166 and prosecution costs of £85.
An order for the forfeiture and destruction of a thermal scope used to detect body heat of hares was also made.
Source: Lincolnshire Police