At approximately 9.45am on January 17, officers were contacted by local Farm Watch members in Wexcombe, near Marlborough who reported possible hare coursing the area.

Shortly after, officers stopped two men travelling in a silver Vauxhall Insignia.

The vehicle, which was seized for having no insurance and no tax, was searched and officers found one-lurcher type dog. The dog was seized as part of the investigation and is being looked after by specialist dog foster carers.

The driver was also found to have an expired driving licence and both men were issued with Fixed Penalty Notices for breaching lockdown by being away from home without having a valid reason.

Enquiries continue into the alleged illegal hare coursing aspect of the incident.

In a separate incident the same day, officers received a further report from local Farm Watch members in Wilton, Salisbury alleging that three men were illegally hare coursing.

Officers arrived and located one man in camouflage clothing. He was interviewed and released pending further investigation. 

Inspector Liz Coles, Force Lead for Rural Crime, said: “Our message is clear, if we suspect anyone of hare coursing in Wiltshire, we will act and potentially seize their dogs.

“We are cracking down on hare coursing here in Wiltshire and our rural crime team are working closely with our local community policing teams to ensure we are able to respond quickly and effectively.

“I also want to pass on my thanks to our Farm Watch members for being our eyes and ears. Their quick reporting allows us to respond and catch criminals in the act”.

Wiltshire Police remain committed to the national strategy, Operation Galileo, which allows police forces to use civil and criminal powers to prevent offending by hare coursers and protect vulnerable victims.

Farm Watch aims to reduce rural crime through improved communication between the police and the public; enabling you to be informed of any current incidents, be equipped to inform neighbours and take your own precautions, if necessary, to prevent your own farm being targeted. 

If you have any information in relation to rural crime, please call Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Source: Wiltshire Police