Man fined £5,000 for hare coursing near Lauder

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A 27-year-old man has been fined £5,000 after admitting using dogs to hunt wild hares on an estate in the Borders.

Ryan Spence, of Guisborough, Teesside, was also disqualified from having custody of dogs for five years.

He was fined another £1,320 for failing to appear at Selkirk Sheriff Court on previous occasions.

Two other members of the hare coursing gang had already been sentenced for their actions on Tollishill Estate near Lauder on 29 January.

The court was told that the three men were seen using four lurcher dogs in a field.

Spence, when stopped by police, had fresh blood on the right sleeve and on the front of his jacket and was in possession of a rucksack with fresh bloodied fur inside.

One of the group's dogs had fresh blood on its paws and no sign of any fresh injury. Seven dead hare were recovered.

'Cruel and illegal'

They were lying in the heather about 20 metres from where the group had been stopped. The hare were all still warm with fresh injuries.

Sara Shaw, head of the wildlife and environmental crime unit at the Crown Office said the sentence should send a message to anyone involved in hare coursing in Scotland.

"Hare coursing is a cruel and wholly illegal act and the Crown will continue to work with Police Scotland to ensure that anyone who hunts hares with dogs is brought to justice," she said.

Spence pleaded guilty to a charge under the Protection of Wild Mammals Scotland Act 2002 and was fined £5,000 by Sheriff Derrick McIntyre.

Fellow gang member Anthony Webster, 36, from Suffolk, was fined £600 and Stuart Brunt, 27, from Derby, was fined £1,200, disqualified from keeping dogs for a year and ordered to carry out 80 hours unpaid work at previous hearings.

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