Lincolnshire Police have said today that its change in tactics in dealing with hare coursing offences has clearly increased its effectiveness.
A statement reads: “The original Op Galileo team comprised of five officers who were expected to respond to incidents throughout the 2,687 square miles of Lincolnshire.
At this halfway point in the season, it is clear that the new approach has enabled us to deal more effectively with reports of hare coursing
“This dedicated team worked hard and had many successes but the sheer logistics of policing such a huge rural area meant that hare coursing incidents increased in 2014/15.
“This season, following consultation with the Strategic Rural Crime Steering Group, which is attended by numerous representatives of the farming community, it was agreed that a different approach was needed and the decision was made to equip and skill our local neighbourhood officers in the powers and legislation which relate to hunting with dogs.
“At this halfway point in the season, it is clear that the new approach has enabled us to deal more effectively with reports of hare coursing.
“Last year, for the whole September to March season, 65 men were reported for summons relating to hare coursing and six vehicles were seized by the former dedicated Galileo team.
“For the season so far this year, from September through to December 22, there have been 131 men reported and 10 vehicles seized.
In addition, in recent weeks, 44 other men have been dealt with by other enforcement action, such as Direction to Leave, traffic offences, etc.”
The force’s lead for rural crime, Chief Inspector Jim Tyner, said: “There were some mixed messages following our change of tactics this season, but I hope it is clear to everyone that Opertion Galileo is here to stay. There is still a lot of work to be done to eradicate the scourge of hare coursing from our county and I remain determined to tackle this illegal act”.