Farmers foil hare coursers

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FARMERS tried to stop two men they suspected of hare coursing.

The villagers tried to block Alan Booth and Lewis Sheridan’s van when they were seen trespassing on fields in Pilling and Stalmine.

The men had been spotted releasing a lurcher-type of dog which chased down hares and killed them.

Booth, 62, of Naylors Terrace, Belmont, near Chorley, and Sheridan, 25, of Johnson Fold Avenue, Bolton, both admitted two offences of trespassing on land in pursuit of game brought under the 1831 Game Act.

Julian Hollamby, prosecuting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court, said the pair were seen, last September, in a field in Pilling releasing their dog, which caught a hare.

They moved on to Stalmine where two farmers saw them and tried to block the van. However, the men managed to drive off, only for police to stop the van in Hambleton.

When they examined one of the dogs they found blood on its face.

The dogs were taken by police and kept in kennels.

The magistrates were told Sheridan had come to the area to exercise the dogs and had not gone with the intent of allowing the dogs to chase animals. However, he admitted he did not have permission to be on the land where he was seen.

Booth told the court: “It was the first time I’ve ever been to that area and will never go there again.

“Some lads told us there were rabbits round there.”

Part-time roofer Booth was fined £100 for each offence and ordered to pay £85 costs.

Jobless Sheridan was fined £65 for each offence and told to pay £85 costs.

Farmer Darrell Jackson, from Stalmine, said he saw the men on one of his fields at the junction of Brown’s Lane and Burrow’s Lane – but he was around 200 metres from them.

He said: “Our biggest concern was we had 400 fat lambs on. If the hare runs on and a dog is following, all the sheep will try to run and break their necks in fences.”

Mr Jackson said there are constantly issues with hare coursing in the area.

He said: “Hunting with dogs now is illegal but it’s a cheap hobby for people – they just need a dog and a bit of petrol. They’ll bet on which dog catches it first.

“This kind of thing happens around three or four times a year.

“It’s a problem when they’re climbing over fences and trampling them down.

“They can also go into fields of crops of corn.”