Three fine for hare coursing near Saffron Walden

THREE men from Surrey have been fined for hare-coursing near Saffron Walden with two of their sons due to be sentenced next month (June) in what police are describing as a “unique” investigation.

Police had initially been contacted at 11am on Friday, February 12 following reports of people trespassing on fields off Top Road in Wimbish. Officers arrived and arrested five people who were walking with their Lurchers.

In April, all five self-employed people were each charged with one count of daytime trespass in the pursuit of game (hare coursing) and released on police bail prior to their appearances at Colchester Magistrates Court.

On Tuesday, May 8, 38-year-old Albert Eastwood from Denton Close in Redhill; 37-year-old Thomas Love from Eastbourne Road in Blindley Heath and his 18-year-old son Thomas Love from the same address pleaded guilty to their offences. They were fined �300 each, ordered to pay �50 costs each and had their car seized and crushed.

Investigating Officer, Ds Dominic Farrington, said: “This is a rather unique case whereby there were no witnesses to their activity, with the only evidence contained within the snow. Without it, it would have been virtually impossible to prosecute these people.

“When we arrested them, we found evidence of blood on the dogs’ paws. All five had denied coursing, instead stating they were just out for a walk. The previous night’s heavy snowfall had made it easy for them to spot the hares, but conversely it made it easy for us to spot them with their footprints and dog tracks.

“We took over 100 photographs which showed the prints in the snow, including the hares’ forms and the zig-zagging of the dogs coursing them. An extensive search led to the discovery of a dead hare which, when found, was still warm.

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“They had tried to poke it down a drain in order to conceal it from us. The weight of this unique evidence no doubt forced them to plead guilty. Hare coursing causes disruption and misery to rural communities and we will not tolerate it; illustrated by the lengths to which we went to in this case.”

Two 16-year-old boys, sons of the older men, are due to be sentenced at the same court on Wednesday, June 6.