THERE has been a 55% reduction in the number of hare coursing incidents reported to Police Scotland from September 2019 to March 2022.

Multi agency Operation Galileo was carried out across West Lothian, Midlothian, East Lothian and the Scottish Borders and included patrols and engagement with farmers and the local community.

Wildlife and environmental crime officer, Police Constable Steven Irvine, said: “Hare coursing is a cruel crime where dogs such as greyhounds, salukis and other lurcher types, are used to illegally chase, catch, injure, and kill hares.

“It tends to be carried out by groups of individuals who arrive in a number of vehicles with dogs. The public have a vital role on helping us combat this and we ask anyone who sees anything suspicious to get in touch.

“If you come across evidence of potential hare coursing, such as vehicles gathering near open fields that are not owned by locals, or a dead hare, then please get in touch by calling 101 or make a call anonymously to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

“Police Scotland, in partnership with other agencies, takes wildlife crime seriously and I would encourage members of the public to report any incidents where wildlife crime is suspected.”

Police Scotland is part of the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC), a national partnership unique to Scotland which was formed with a strategic vision of co-ordinating cohesive and sustained crime prevention and reassurance advice to rural communities.