Three men who were caught hare coursing in Cambridgeshire twice in a month have been handed three-year orders banning them from any similar activity.
18th February 2021
Levi Lee, 31, Edward Lee, 37 and John Lee, 64, all of Colliers Way, Arley, Coventry, were first spotted on 29 November, 2019.
The trio were seen by a neighbouring farmer on land at Dovecote Farm, Somersham, at just before 8.30am.
Officers from the force’s Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT) were given a helping hand before they arrived by the farmer of the land who had blocked the men’s silver Izuzu Trooper vehicle in with his own.
Officers noticed the rear windows of their vehicle were deliberately obscured to hide two lurcher dogs.
The three men claimed to be on the farm to look for a ‘missing’ Cocker Spaniel dog and said they believed they were on a public bridleway. The trio also claimed they had driven to the area to look at property, though could provide no locations or addresses.
All three men were dispersed from the county and their vehicle was seized.
However, a month later, on 29 December, the three men were seen in Cambridgeshire again.
This time they were spotted on land off Oilmills Road, Ramsey Mereside, at just before 10.30am by a member of the RCAT team.
The officer noticed a silver Nissan X-Trail stationary in a field in the wet weather. As he scanned the field with his binoculars he saw two men with dogs walking ahead of the car.
This raised his suspicions, so the officer drove down a farm track and saw the two men begin running back to the car.
The Nissan drove back towards the main road and the officer, anticipating the driver of the vehicle may try to escape, placed a stinger across the track.
The car stopped just before the stinger and the officer recognised three of the four men as those who had been stopped a month previously.
John Lee shouted that he was “still looking” for the missing Cocker Spaniel from the previous incident.
The driver of the car on this occasion, William Anderson, 45, of Lees Road, Yalding, Maidstone, Kent, was interviewed and admitted the vehicle was his but answered ‘no comment’ to all other questions.
The three other men also gave ‘no comment’ interviews at the scene. All four men were given dispersal orders to leave Cambridgeshire and their vehicle was seized.
John Lee, Edward Lee and Levi Lee stood trial at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court in October last year in relation to the November 2019 incident.
John Lee was found guilty of poaching and handed a £400 fine and 12-week driving disqualification.
Levi Lee was given the same sentence after being found guilty of poaching and driving on land not part of a road. Edward Lee was handed a £400 fine and a six-week driving disqualification after magistrates found he had committed poaching.
However, the trio were back before the courts alongside William Anderson in November last year for the offence in December 2019.
After trial at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court yesterday (17 February), William Anderson was found guilty of criminal damage, driving a vehicle on land not part of a road and poaching and ordered to pay £500 in compensation to the farmer for his damaged crops. He was also fined £350.
Levi Lee, Edward Lee and John Lee were all handed three-year Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs) designed to prevent them from hare coursing, lamping and poaching in Cambridgeshire.
The conditions stipulate that the trio must not (in the county of Cambridgeshire):
Be on private agricultural or farm land, or any yards or working areas associated with that land, in or on any vehicle, or on foot whilst in possession of one or more sight hound or x-sight hound breed, unless the land owner’s written permission has been obtained beforehand
Be on private agricultural or farm land, or any yards or working areas associated with that land, in possession of a handheld projectile weapon of any description whilst in possession of, or in company of others in possession of one or more sight hound or x-sight hound breed, unless the land owner’s written permission has been obtained beforehand
Sergeant Tom Nuttall, from the force’s RCAT team, said: “John, Edward and Levi Lee had no issue with coming into Cambridgeshire for a second time within a month of being caught by us.
“Again, they (along with William Anderson) where caught by officers who recognised them, and were put before the courts.
“The effectiveness of the CBOs will be put to the test, because if they breach them they will be arrested and put before the courts again with a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
“Cambridgeshire’s flat and rural landscape make it a popular area for hare coursing and other rural crime, but our dedicated team works hard to bring offenders to justice. This sentencing is a great example of that.
“People can help us tackle hare coursing by looking out for groups of vehicles parked in rural areas (particularly by a gateway to farmland, on a grass verge, on a farm track or bridleway), estate cars, four wheel drives or vans with dogs inside or groups of people using binoculars to spot hares. Anyone who sees hare coursing in progress should call 999.”