Three travellers fined £1,500 for hare coursing in Lincolnshire
Three travellers have been fined more than £1,500 after pleading guilty to hare coursing.
Frankie Butler, Charlie Smith and Thomas Mochan were found by police with a "lurcher-type dog" on farmland at Thorpe Tilney Fen, near Timberland.
Each of the men admitted committing the offence under the Hunting Act 2004 at Lincoln Magistrates' Court on Friday, January 25. And each was handed a fine of £525.
Prosecuting solicitor Jane Loader applied for an antisocial behaviour order to ban the men from entering Lincolnshire during the hare coursing season (September until March) and from prohibiting them from coming into the county with a dog.
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It would have meant the men would have risked a prison term if they broke the order.
She said: "I can rightly say that hare coursing is a very emotive issue in Lincolnshire." But magistrates denied the ban after defending solicitor Ms Downes argued the punishment would be like "using a sledgehammer to crack a nut".
She added: "You have to have evidence they are behaving in an anti-social way. But there's no evidence to say they're harassing any of the farmers."
Butler, 22, of Hinlip in Worcester, Smith, 26, of North Killworth in Leicestershire, and Mochan, 25 of Market Harborough in Leicestershire, admitted taking part in the illegal sport on December 21.
In September, Lincolnshire Police launched a new operation to tackle hare coursing after an increase in incidents.
A specialist team to combat the problem was set up.
A total of 21 men faced prosecution for illegal hare coursing after just one month of the team being established.
Lincolnshire Police's wildlife and rural crime officer Nick Willey said: "If anyone sees suspected hare courses they should try to note vehicle registration numbers."