Men prosecuted for hunting hares near Leeming Bar

Police have warned that hare coursing will not be tolerated in North Yorkshire, after two men received court fines and costs totalling nearly £800.

Andrew Keith Lee Bell, 32, and Steven Thompson 26, pleaded guilty to hunting a wild mammal with dogs near Leeming Bar at Northallerton Magistrates’ Court.

Bell was ordered to pay a £284 fine, £85 costs and £30 victim surcharge. Thomson was ordered to pay a £220 fine, £85 costs and £30 victim surcharge. Both are from the Durham area.

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The incident was reported to police by several witnesses who saw the two using dogs to chase hares on private land near Leeming Bar at around midday on 5 February 2017.

They were subsequently stopped by officers in Richmond and both interviewed about the matter. Their vehicle was seized, and both were reported for hunting offences.

PC Mark Wood, Richmond Rural Beat Manager and a Wildlife Crime Officer, said: “North Yorkshire Police will always respond to reports of this nature. People in North Yorkshire don’t appreciate others trespassing on their land with dogs in order to hunt hares. Hopefully the proactive police investigation and resulting court fines will discourage others from doing the same.”