Six charges of hare coursing

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Three men have been sentenced in connection with hare coursing crimes in the Lothians and Borders.

The men pled guilty to a total of six charges at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in December 2016. The offences took place between December 2015 and February 2016.

Niall Purves, 36, of Edinburgh was convicted of four charges of hare coursing in the East Fortune, North Berwick, Duns and Pathhead areas. He was sentenced to a community payback order of 300 hours, to be completed in 12 months, and has been disqualified from keeping a dog for five years.

Allan Hales, 32, of Coatbridge in Lanarkshire was convicted on one charge of hare coursing in Duns in February 2016. He has been sentenced to a community payback order of 180 hours, to be completed within eight months, and has been disqualified from keeping a dog for three years.

John Baird, 48, of Airdrie in North Lanarkshire was fined £360 for a breach of the peace.

PC Jamie Hood, wildlife crime liaison officer, said: “Hare coursing is a cruel death for an animal.

“This activity and the behaviour of perpetrators causes distress to the people who live and work in rural communities, and risks the worrying of livestock.

“I’d encourage those who live, work and visit the countryside to remain vigilant in reporting any suspicious behaviour to us.”

Contact the police or report suspicious behaviour, anonymously, to Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.

Gemma Cooper, legal and technical policy manager for NFUS, said: “NFU Scotland is very encouraged to hear of the sanctions handed down in this case. Hare coursing remains a live issue for many of our farming members, and we are aware that often there are links to other types of rural crime and serious organised crime.

“This instance sends out a clear message that it has no part in our working countryside. We would continue to urge NFUS members to report any suspicious activity such as this to Police Scotland on 101.”