Police in Lancashire have taken part in a major crackdown travelling criminals in rural community and hare coursing.
Following feedback from the local community on rural crime, activity focused on the banned activity in the Fylde and West Lancashire areas.
Key community links were contacted and asked to report any suspicious behaviour and patrols were deployed to the area to respond to community information and actively patrol areas known to be hare coursing hotspots.
Hare coursing is illegal and anyone linked by police intelligence to hare coursing will be visited and warned with regards prosecution if they continue.
Regular patrols will aim to identify and prosecute anyone involved in hare coursing and seek to seize dogs and vehicles used.
The operation saw 22 vehicles stopped with 12 stop searches carried out and three vehicle prohibition notices given.
Lorraine Ellwood, Rural Crime and Wildlife Co-ordinator at Lancashire Police said: “We are committed to tackling rural crime and protecting the diverse wildlife in Lancashire. Anyone who comes to Lancashire to commit rural crime will be targeted and where possible arrested and any vehicles, dogs or poaching equipment with them seized and destroyed. We understand the impact rural crime can have on our communities and we are determined to work together to stop offences in our rural communities.
“Seventy four per cent of Lancashire’s geographical area is classed as rural. We are keen to work with the residents living in these areas to clamp down on criminals wherever they are from, and wherever they are going.”
Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw said: "These criminals will aim to trespass on private land to hunt hares with their dogs and will often make threats to landowners and damage property.
"Hare coursing is a major issue for Lancashire land owners and it will not be tolerated. Tackling crimes in the rural areas of Lancashire are equally as much of a priority for me as are the major incidents in the large towns.
"I am pleased to see that the police are clamping down on these gangs under Operation Checkpoint, engaging with the key priorities under my police and crime plan.
"To help prevent further cases of hare coursing I would encourage people to report any suspicions they may have to the police."