Lincolnshire hare coursing 'out of control'
Hare coursing in Lincolnshire has got "out of control", the National Farmers Union (NFU) has said.
NFU official Gordon Corner said 50 men and children were involved in an incident in Midville on Monday which "terrorised" a farmer.
A 24-hour dispersal order was put in place on Wednesday by police after officers received "a high volume of hare coursing-related incidents".
More than 2,000 calls have been made to Lincolnshire Police during 2015-16.
Hare coursing has been illegal throughout the UK since 2005. The Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt wild mammals with dogs.
Mr Corner, an adviser for the NFU's Holland region, which covers that part of Lincolnshire, welcomed the dispersal order but said: "The thing is they need to catch them first so they can issue the order and hare coursing currently in Lincolnshire is out of control."
Speaking about the Midville incident, Mr Corner said the gang of 50 people drove across fields in 10 vehicles.
"One police car turned up quite quickly. The hare coursers dispersed, they caught seven men but we don't know what happened to them," he said.
"We've had lots and lots of meetings with them [police], we've had lots of discussions about how we and farmers can help. But we need to have some action.
"If [police] took the information they got and use it, then I think they would have a better success rate [with tackling hare coursing].
Tim Casey, a farmer near Coningsby, said some farmers were "at breaking point" and could be forced to tackle the crime themselves.
Rural crime officer PC Nick Willey said the force was doing all it could but added it should look at other ways of combating the crime.
The force's police and crime commissioner Marc Jones added: "I have recently contacted the chief constable to raise these matters and to make clear the importance I place on rural community safety.
"I believe the force is currently assessing the most effective operational response and yesterday's order is only the beginning."
Traditionally, coursing incidents start to rise in the autumn after crops have been harvested. They then continue until spring.
- The coursers will walk along the field to frighten the hare into the open
- The dog catches the hare and kills it by "ragging" it - shaking the animal in its teeth
- The dogs - usually greyhounds, lurchers or salukis - are on a slip lead, threaded so it can be easily released
- The dead hare is usually left in the field or thrown in a ditch
- Since 2005, hare coursing has been illegal throughout the UK. The Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt wild mammals with dogs
Source: Lincolnshire Police