ADVICE has been issued for landowners and farmers who suffer from hare coursing incidents which often begin after fields have been harvested.

CLA North calls on people in rural areas to report suspicious behaviour, and take details of vehicles when reporting to police.

Hare coursing, where dogs compete against each other in pursuit of a hare, was outlawed by the 2004 Hunting Act but now takes place illegally without the permission of landowners and farmers. It has also been reported that the crime involves live streaming to another location where bets worth thousands of pounds are placed on the outcome.

Following thousands of incidents of hare coursing every year, the CLA which represents landowners, has in the past called for tailored sentencing guidelines such as the seizure of vehicles and dogs, and tougher sentencing. CLA North adviser Libby Bateman said: "Police have the power to tackle these criminals but they need evidence to bring perpetrators to justice. This is why we encourage people to record and report any suspicious activity to the police. This can be done by dialling 101 to speak to your local police force or contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

An anonymous farmer said: “Criminals involved in this illegal activity – which is banned – often threaten landowners and damage property. These criminal gangs are still travelling to our area, trespassing on private farmland to chase hares with dogs. The only way to stop these criminals is to report any suspicious activity to the police.”