Northamptonshire Police said the case of Fred Holmes should act as an important warning to other dog owners to remain responsible and sensible, particularly on rural land
A dog owner has been blasted for trespassing on private land and using canines to chase and kill hares.
Fred Holmes has been fined nearly £20,000, but spared jail, for trespass in pursuit of hare and going equipped for trespass. A court heard Holmes, 60, was found with dogs on private land after police were called to reports of hare coursing.
The defendant was arrested, and his three lurcher-type dogs and mobile phone were seized. Officers found he was already subject to a community protection notice after committing similar offences previously. He’s now been banned from keeping dogs for 10 years and was made subject to a three-year criminal behaviour order.
Holmes eventually admitted two counts of trespass in pursuit of game, and two counts of being equipped to trespass in pursuit of hares, despite initially denying them.
All the charges relate to an incident in Crowland, Northamptonshire, on November 13 last year. He was also suspected of hare coursing in Warmington, Northamptonshire, on October 23 last year, reports Lincolnshire Live.
The three dogs have since been rehomed. Boston Magistrates’ Court heard Holmes must also forfeit the Citroen car he used during the offences, and also a thermal imaging device found in his vehicle, as it is thought this was used by him to locate hares.
Holmes, from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, 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.”