SUSPECTED poachers who tried to daze officers with high-powered lights were snared by police - after they crashed their own vehicle.

Police received a report of hare coursing taking place near Hexham after lamps were seen dotted around local fields, at 11.45pm on Wednesday.

Soon after a red Subaru estate car was spotted by specialist Motor Patrols officers fleeing the Shaftoe Leazes area on the A69.

On seeing the patrol cars, the suspected poachers dangerously shone their high-powered lamps at police in an effort to dazzle officers, but minutes later it was the suspected poachers who lost control.

When exiting the A69 at Throckley the vehicle and collided with the roundabout, bringing the damaged car to a halt.

The four uninjured male occupants were detained by police. The car was searched and three lurcher dogs and lamps were seized. The dogs were unhurt and are in kennels.

Neighbourhood Inspector Garry Neill, who covers the Tynedale area for Northumbria Police, said: “Our officers did an amazing job keeping their cool – especially when they were literally put under a spotlight.

“Those actions were incredibly dangerous and put the lives of our officers at risk as they travelled at high speed on a major road.

“Ultimately, this was a great collaborative effort between members of our rural policing team, motor patrols and the dog section all playing a part.

“I hope this immediate policing response reassures our rural communities that we are committed to tackling poaching offences.

“We have been running Operation Poacher for some time now and it is important that the public know that this activity is against the law. Over the last few weeks we have seized several vehicles, dogs and other associated poaching equipment and will continue to target those who commit rural crime."

A 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving while the other three men, aged 24, 26 and 26 were arrested on suspicion of causing danger to other road users.

All four men, who are from the Sunderland area, remain in police custody at this time.

Anyone with information about poaching activity is encouraged to contact police on 101 or online at the Northumbria Police website.