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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 November, 2003, 08:50 GMT
Officials target hare coursing
Police say the seized weapons are connected to hare coursing
Police in Hertfordshire are targeting people who trepass in the countryside to take part in illegal hare coursing.

The effort comes after the force recently uncovered a stash of weapons they said had been used in connection with the activity.

The illegal bloodsport involves people placing bets on how long it will take for dogs to kill hares

About 50 local landowners and farmers from the east of the county discussed the issue with police in Stevenage this week.

After the meeting, Chief Superintendent Andy Wright said: "During the last 15 years this has become a real problem for the police, landowners and their staff, and people who live in rural communities.

Rural patrols

"The groups that gather are often intimidating and there have been a number of instances where individuals have been violent towards local gamekeepers or police officers who have intervened.

Hare is chased by two dogs
Hare coursing is condemned as cruel by animal rights groups
"Very often, they create significant damage to the land on which they are trespassing."

He said police would keep illegal hare coursing high on their agenda and would carry out preventative patrols in rural areas.

Nicholas Moss, of the North Hertfordshire Magistrates Bench, said: "It is clear that illegal hare coursing causes real distress to its victims in our rural communities.

"I will ensure that this is communicated clearly to magistrate colleagues serving the areas affected."

Row over hare permit
14 Oct 03  |  Northern Ireland
In pictures: Hare coursing
28 Feb 02  |  UK
Protest at hare coursing cup
26 Feb 02  |  England

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