In a bid to stamp out hare coursing in Lincolnshire, a raft of local police forces have united to provide support to Operation Galileo.
Lincolnshire Police’s Operation Galileo is an attempt to stamp out hare coursing, the pursuit of hares with greyhounds and other sighthounds, within the county and is the first of its kind to use drones in a live operation to apprehend criminals.
Three months on from the launch of the project, which officially went live on September 17, it has been announced that officers from Northamptonshire Police’s Cross-Border Team patrolled in South Lincolnshire, supported by Roads Policing officers from the East Midlands Operational Support Service.
Chief Inspector Jim Tyner, who was in charge of the day’s operation, said: “I am grateful to our colleagues from neighbouring forces who have joined us for Operation Galileo. I believe that the seizure of dogs is an effective deterrent and disrupts hare coursing.
“On the day of action we were in the position where we could have seized four more dogs but ran out of kennel space so we will rectify that for the future. The message from me is clear: if you come to Lincolnshire for hare coursing, we will use every power available to us to seize your dogs.”
While the project has only been operational for 14 weeks, unmanned aerial vehicles have already proved to be an integral factor in apprehending coursers.
In October a spokesperson from the force said: “Drone operators were able to locate suspected hare coursers and direct officers with off-road capability to the scene. As a result, four men from Darlington were arrested and will face a court appearance for trespassing in pursuit of game.”
Last year, the operation saw around 250 offenders dealt with by being arrested, ordered to leave the county or given a warning, plus 40 vehicles and 31 dogs were seized.
Speaking on the launch day earlier this year, constable Bill Skelly said: “It’s not just about the technology which we are showcasing today, nor about the vehicles which we have purchased and put into operational policing, but about working with our partners in the rural communities and other forces to gather information and intelligence on those who commit crimes, including hare coursing and thefts.
“We are bringing that all together, raising awareness amongst our staff about all the legislation available and then using that to enforce actively. From there, work continues further down the line in the criminal justice system, through to the final outcomes at magistrates court. So it is a whole effort on the part of a number of different partners and agencies to bring about a better result for our rural communities.”