Six suspected hare coursers have been banned entering Lincolnshire

Six suspected hare coursers arrested after a 100mph pursuit by police have been banned entering Lincolnshire between August and April for three years.

20th March 2020

Only three of the men – said to have come from “all four corners of the country to the flatlands of Lincolnshire” – admitted hunting a wild mammal with dogs, as video evidence seized from the group showed dead hares and proved their participation. The others pleaded guilty to trespass for poaching.

All six men accepted that they owned dogs left in a Subaru Forester and Honda CRV which they fled when police officers brought the high-speed pursuit on November 3 last year to an end with a tactical contact manoeuvre.

And at Boston Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, the six were all handed three-year Criminal Behaviour Orders banning them from entering Lincolnshire and going on to private agricultural land with dogs between August 1 and April 30 (when hares are prevalent), or accompanying others doing that, without the express permission of the landowner.

The two vehicles, other coursing property and eight dogs were made the subject of deprivation orders. The court was told that the dogs would be rehomed but the defendants’ solicitor Alison Downs immediately signalled intention to appeal the deprivation order for the animals, saying they were “family dogs”.

The court was told that one of the dogs was found wearing a collar designed to give an electric shock by remote control.

Prosecutor Paul Wood said police first received reports of seven or eight males with dogs on farmland in the Hubbert’s Bridge and Carrington Road areas. The group successfully fled but were spotted by officers about an hour later in Hobhole Bank.

“The Subaru did a handbrake turn and sped off at speeds of upto 90mph,” said Mr Wood. “It was not possible to identify any one of these six men as the drivers. The vehicles carried on, including crossing land, and going up to 90mph. Speeds reached 100mph on the A16 and at High Ferry Lane at Sibsey police used tactical contact, which pushed the Subaru off into farmland.”

The six defendants – all but one of whom had previous convictions for similar activities – were rounded up and arrested.

In mitigation, Miss Downs said: “A very in-depth investigation was done by police but everything has fallen away to the offences which they have pleaded guilty to today.

“Two men ran away and did not stay with the police. There’s no suggestion at all that any of the defendants I represent were driving the vehicles that day. In fact they say they were scared stiff.”

For hunting a wild mammal with dogs, John Joseph Bowman, 31, of Lakeland View Caravan Park, Greengill, Penrith, Cumbria, and George William Miller, 29, of Sunfield Close, Blackpool were each fined £750 and ordered to pay £85 costs and £75 victim surcharge. Michael Collins, 31, of Greenacres, Leicester Road, Market Harborough, was fined £500 and told to pay £135 in costs and surcharge.

For daytime trespass in pursuit of game, Thomas Mochan, 32, of The Broadway, Market Harborough; Robert Bobby Rowan, 27, of Rowan West, Levisham Lane, Hurworth Moor; and Neil Andrew Young, 30, of Hartford Caravan Site, Hartford Bridge, Bedlington were each fined £350 and ordered to pay £120 in costs and surcharge.

Only Bowman and Rowan were present in court, the others citing coronavirus fears for their non-appearance. The bench accepted this was an exceptional period and declined the opportunity to adjourn the absent defendants’ cases, instead allowing Miss Downs to submit pleas on their behalf.

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