Lincolnshire Police warning over secret hare coursing event

Greyhound chasing a hare Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Coursers prefer flat, rural areas where the dogs can see their prey more easily

Anyone taking part in an illegal hare coursing competition if it comes to Lincolnshire will have their dogs, vehicles and money seized, police said.

It is believed the event, dubbed the Fir Cup, is being organised for Friday via a closed group on WhatsApp.

Ch Supt Mark Housley, of Lincolnshire Police, said the force would prosecute anyone caught taking part.

Lincolnshire is popular with hare coursers due to its large areas of flat open farmland.

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According to police, the Fir Cup is potentially worth tens of thousands of pounds to the winner in breeding rights - as it is likely other hare coursers would want to breed from the winning dog.

What is known about the Fir Cup?

Image copyright Getty Images
  • It is said to have prize money of £6,000 and is held at a location not given until the day via a closed WhatsApp group
  • The event could be held anywhere in the country but likely targets include Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire
  • The illegal competition is said to be worth tens of thousands of pounds to the winning owner in breeding rights

Source: Thames Valley Police

Ch Supt Housley said it was not clear if the event would take place in the county but said the force was prepared.

"Hare coursing is a cruel sport committed by people with little respect for the animals they hunt, the dogs they use and the people they abuse and threaten," he said.

"Our policy of seizing dogs will continue, and we will also seize your vehicles, phones, and money."

The force routinely seizes dogs if someone is caught hare coursing, and has recently started seizing dogs temporarily if there is not enough evidence for a prosecution.

Police in the county dealt with 2,000 calls during the 2015-16 hare coursing season.

Hare coursing

Image copyright Getty Images
  • Coursers often use binoculars to spot hares
  • Dogs - usually greyhounds, lurchers or salukis - are on a slip lead threaded so it can be easily released
  • Coursers will walk along the field to frighten the hare into the open
  • The dog catches the hare and kills it by "ragging" it - shaking the animal in its teeth
  • The dead hare is usually left in the field or thrown in a ditch
  • Since 2005, hare coursing has been illegal throughout the UK

Source: Lincolnshire Police

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