Lincolnshire Police hare coursing clampdown begins

Image caption Police have prosecuted more than 180 people and issued 100 warnings

A police team set up to combat hare coursing in Lincolnshire is about to begin its annual clampdown.

Operation Galileo, which has six full-time officers, started using a special hare coursing squad last September.

Between its launch and March the team prosecuted 186 people under the Gaming or Hunting Acts and issued a further 100 warnings.

Traditionally offences start to rise in the autumn after crops have been harvested, and continue until spring.

Police also reported a sharp fall in the number of distraction burglaries in the county during the period.

Operation Galileo's Insp Andy Ham said: "Hare coursing causes disruption and alarm to members of our rural communities.

"Evidence shows that people who participate in it are mainly involved in other forms of criminal activity and they usually come from outside the county.

"During the season, the number of reported incidents increased steadily each year until last season."

He urged local communities to pass on details of unfamiliar people and vehicles to the force.

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