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Morecambe man sentenced for hare coursing in Lincolnshire

A man from Morecambe has been sentenced after being caught hare coursing in Lincolnshire.

George Miller, 32, of Loupsefell Drive, and Lewis Sheridan, 37, of Thicketford Road, Bolton, were seen walking across arable land with their two dogs, a beige long dog, and a black long dog; the dogs were seen chasing and catching hares.

They have been ordered to pay more than £4,500 and handed Criminal Behaviour Orders banning them from the county during hare coursing season, for the next 10 years.

They had arrived in the area earlier that day, travelling from Lancashire and Greater Manchester, in a silver Skoda car which they had left near to a farm in the area. They had tried to hide the car behind some foliage.

On arriving back at the car, the men were challenged by the local farmer who had tried to block the car in with farm machinery. In a bid to escape, the Skoda was driven at speed across grassed areas and onto the A151.

Sheridan and Millar were arrested when their car was seen and stopped by officers from the Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT), less than an hour afterwards. Their car was seized along with the two dogs and other property believed to be used in the commission of their illegal activities. The property included three thermal cameras, a video camera and four mobile phones. Information from these digital devices would prove to form a key part of the investigation.

Information obtained from the recording devices and mobile phones pinpointed the men’s unlawful activities and provided evidence of their offending.

In interview the men used the excuse that they had the landowner’s permission to undertake pest control and that is why they were at the location; hare coursing is illegal so no such permission can ever be granted for those activities.

Sheridan and Miller pleaded guilty at Boston Magistrates’ Court last week to hunting a wild mammal with a dog, contrary to Schedule 1 of the Hunting Act 2004.

PC Karen Irving, Rural Crime Action Team, said: “With the support of the farming community, our team, along with response officers, neighbourhood teams and other resources from the force, focus on bringing offenders before the courts.

‘’These offenders are people who inflict such outdated cruelty and terror upon our wildlife.

"I believe the defendants both relinquished their dogs so that kennelling costs were not adding up, which they do daily. The welfare of the dogs is our main concern as we can rehome them much sooner than waiting for a potential court order.

“Notwithstanding the real cruelty and horror of these offences, the farmers have their land and crops damaged and that can have long term financial consequences.

“The farmer in this case has supported us throughout our investigation and we’re very grateful for their help.”

Both men relinquished ownership of their dogs which have subsequently been rehomed.

A recovery order was granted for kennelling fees, which totalled £3,285.50. With fines, costs and surcharges added to the kennel fees, the two men must pay a total of £4,575.50 in full by the end of this month.

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