Police caught two men hare coursing after they were seen hunting illegally on a farmer’s field.
Colin Morrell (51) and Simon Jones (30) admitted breaking the 2004 Hunting Act when they appeared at Loughborough magistrates court yesterday.
The court heard the defendants were spotted with lurcher-type dogs in a field at Langham, near Oakham, at about 8am on November 25 last year.
A local farmer was alerted by a neighbour to the two men, who were seen in a field with two dogs.
Prosecutor Sally Laundon said: “He thought they appeared to be hare-coursing. Through binoculars, he saw two men at the bottom of the field and two dogs further up.
“He watched the two dogs which appeared to be lurcher or greyhound types hunting or chasing and one appeared to have caught a mammal, the other was circling it.”
The farmer drove to where the men’s vehicle, a Subaru Forester, was parked and which contained other dogs, but the men were not there.
She said: “The police attended and inspected the field. There were scuff marks on the ground, along with animal fur and blood which appeared to be fresh.
“When the two men came back, one of the dogs had blood on its head.”
Ms Laundon said Morrell, of Bishop Road, Stoke-on-Trent, admitted hare-coursing and told officers that he had left two hares under a hedge.
Morrell told the court: “This is something I’ve done all my life, like my father and his father before him.
“Someone needs to get a hold of this and take it by the reins. A new law came in, in 2004, which I don’t understand.
“I can’t believe what’s gone on over something as trivial.
“I feel totally sorry for the young fella who was with me because he just gave me a lift.
“He doesn’t know what a hare or trespassing is.”
Mark Wardley, defending Jones, of Recorder Grove, Stoke-on-Trent, said: “He doesn’t realise coursing is a criminal offence.
“When he gave his co-accused a lift, he thought they would be chasing rabbits. It later became clear to him they were hunting hares.”
Morrell was fined £65 and ordered to pay £40 in costs and a victim surcharge. Jones was given a conditional discharge for six months and told to pay £20 costs.
Speaking after the case Morrell said: “I’ve done it all my life. I don’t know any other. My dad used to breed lurchers and greyhounds. They won’t stop me doing this till the day I die.”