POLICE caught two men and a youth poaching on land and involved in illegal hare-coursing, a court heard.
George Hunter, 24, of Killingholme Road, Habrough, Nathan Mawson, 18, of Greengate Lane, South Killingholme, and a 16- year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted trespassing in pursuit of hares at Hayes Farm, Redbourne, near Brigg, on November 6.
Rebecca Dolby, prosecuting, told North Lincolnshire Magistrates’ Court that this area was regarded as one of the best in the country for hare-coursing and they often attracted large crowds, were filmed and were the subject of bets.
It was not, however, alleged that this was the case with these defendants.
An off-duty police officer reported seeing three males hare-coursing on land near Carr Lane, Redbourne.
One of them was slipping dogs and encouraging them to run after a hare. They were there without permission and were trespassing.
The trio began to run and an unattended vehicle was found at Hibaldstow Bridge. All three were with lurcher-type dogs.
They claimed they had come merely to walk their dogs and one of them strayed into a field.
Jason Nicholson, mitigating, said there was no commercial activity or enterprise and it was very low- level, opportunistic activity with no financial reward.
They were walking back to a caravan site at Brandy Wharf when they cut across fields and trespassed. One of the dogs was taken off its leash and chased a hare or rabbit.
“It’s nothing more sinister or sophisticated than that,” said Mr Nicholson. “It was a purely recreational activity.”
Hunter, who is a gardener, and Mawson were each fined £100 and were ordered to pay £85 costs and a Government-imposed £15 victims’ surcharge.
The youth was given an absolute discharge, but must pay £85 costs.
District judge Daniel Curtis told the trio: “I am well aware of the difficulties poaching causes local farmers and those employed by local farmers as gamekeepers.
“There is no suggestion of any real degree of professionalism or organisation here.
“You know you should not be doing it.
“If you are country people, you know where you are allowed to go and where you are not allowed to go.
“You run the risk of running in to gamekeepers and them exercising some summary justice.”