A man has been fined nearly £20,000 after admitting trespassing on private land and using dogs to chase and kill hares in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire. Following a report of hare coursing in Low Road, Crowland, on November 13, police attended and located the suspect who appeared to be equipped with dogs on the land.
Fred Holmes, aged 60, was subsequently charged with trespass in pursuit of hare and going equipped for trespass. He was also suspected of hare coursing in Warmington, Northamptonshire, on October 23 last year.
Holmes was already subject to a community protection notice in Northamptonshire after committing similar offences previously, and his three lurcher-type dogs were seized alongside his mobile phone. A joint force investigation resulted in Holmes, of Thorney Road, Eye, Peterborough, being charged with two counts of trespass in pursuit of game, and two counts of being equipped to trespass in pursuit of hares.
Despite initially denying the Northamptonshire offences, he entered guilty pleas to all four counts at Boston Magistrates’ Court on Friday, November 10. As a result, a deprivation order was made against Holmes, which saw him forfeit the three dogs, which will now be rehomed, the Citroen car he used during the offences, and also a thermal imaging device found in his vehicle thought to have been used by him to locate hares.
Holmes was also ordered to pay £16,783.50 for the kennel costs of keeping the three dogs since their seizure, as well as fines for the two trespass offences and two victim surcharges, making a total of £18,557.50. He was also banned from keeping dogs for 10 years and made subject to a three-year criminal behaviour order.
This order prevents him from entering any private land in Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire or Cambridgeshire with a sighthound, greyhound, long dog or lurcher type dog or cross breed, or being in the company of anyone with this kind of dog on private land, during the recognised hare coursing season (July 31 – April 30).
Sergeant Debbie Nunn, of Lincolnshire Police, said: “This is a fantastic result and credit goes to all of those involved. We’d like to say thank you to the members of the community for reporting this incident to us, your assistance is vital to our investigations.
“We hope this sends a strong message that we will take robust action to prevent and disrupt those involved in rural crime, which is often linked to other forms of criminality.”
PC Chloe Gillies, of the Rural Crime Team at Northamptonshire Police, said: “The actions of Fred Holmes in allowing his dogs to chase and kill hares were cruel and illegal. He deliberately trespassed onto private land to break the law, causing fear and concern to the landowners, and then lied repeatedly to the police about what he was doing.”