Dog seizure policy working in Lincolnshire, police say
Lincolnshire is no longer "an easy target" for hare coursers due to a policy of seizing dogs, police said.
Deputy chief constable of Lincolnshire Police, Craig Naylor, said the force has seen a 30% reduction in incidents compared to 2017.
"Criminals know we will seize their dogs, which can be worth thousands of pounds," he said.
A total of 76 dogs have been seized since September, some of which have been rehomed by order of a court.
Farmers in Lincolnshire previously likened parts of the county to the "Wild West" and said they feared for their safety after an escalation in the level of violence used by people setting dogs on hares.
One farmer said he was "terrified" when hare coursers threw rocks and hammered at the side of his car when confronted.
"We have had to raise our game to tackle what had been an increasing problem in Lincolnshire," Mr Naylor said.
In addition to seizing dogs, police are using off-road vehicles and drones to combat the coursers.
Mr Naylor said the measures meant "criminals no longer see Lincolnshire as an easy target".
However, one suspected courser, who had travelled from Middlesbrough, told the BBC the tactic was unlikely to deter him.
"We come for the flat land - to see out dogs run properly, and there are better hares down here," he said.
"If you've got a dog down here killing the hares, then you've got a good dog."
The force dealt with 1,365 incidents in 2017/18 compared to 1,965 in 2016/17.
- Coursers often use binoculars to spot hares
- Dogs - usually greyhounds, lurchers or salukis - are on a slip lead threaded so it can be easily released
- 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 dead hare is usually left in the field or thrown in a ditch
- Since 2005, hare coursing has been illegal throughout the UK
Source: Lincolnshire Police