Man fined more than £18,500 after admitting hare coursing charges
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A Cambridgeshire man has been fined more than £18,500 after admitting trespassing on private land and using dogs to chase and kill hares in Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire.
On the afternoon of October 23 last year, 60-year-old Fred Holmes was seen in a field in Warmington with three dogs which went on to chase and kill a hare.
When challenged by a witness, who told him what he was doing was illegal and asked him to leave, Holmes assumed the person was the owner of the field and asked to buy them a drink so they could come to an arrangement for the use of the land.
Instead, the witness reported Holmes’ actions to Northamptonshire Police, where the Rural Crime Team began to investigate.
They soon linked in with colleagues in Lincolnshire, where on November 13, 2022, Holmes was arrested by officers in connection with further hare-coursing-related offences.
Holmes was already subject to a community protection notice there after committing similar offences previously, and his three lurcher-type dogs were seized alongside his mobile phone.
The investigations by both forces resulted in Holmes, of Thorney Road, Eye, Peterborough, being charged with two counts of trespass in pursuit of game, and two counts of being equipped to trespass in pursuit of hares.
Despite initially denying the Northamptonshire offences, at Boston Magistrates’ Court on Friday, November 10, he entered guilty pleas to all four counts.
As a result, a deprivation order was made against Holmes, which saw him forfeit the three dogs, which will now be rehomed, the Citroen car he used during the offences, and also a thermal imager device found in his vehicle thought to have been used by him to locate hares.
Holmes was also ordered to pay £16,783.50 for the kennel costs of keeping the three dogs since their seizure, as well as fines for the two trespass offences and two victim surcharges, making a total of £18,557.50. He was also banned from keeping dogs for 10 years.
PC Chloe Gillies, of the Rural Crime Team at Northamptonshire Police, said: “The actions of Fred Holmes in allowing his dogs to chase and kill hares were cruel and illegal.
“He deliberately trespassed onto private land to break the law, causing fear and concern to the landowners, and then lied repeatedly to the police about what he was doing.
“This case sends out a clear message that hare courses are not welcome in our county, and demonstrates the close working relationships we have with our surrounding forces to both prevent and bring people to justice for these types of offences.”
Report suspicious activity and non-emergency crime by calling 101 or going online at www.northants.police.uk/RO. In an emergency where a crime is in progress or life is at risk, always call 999.