Operation Lepus is a national operation to address hare coursing, an identified national wildlife crime priority. Central Scotland Police has begun work in this area and other police force areas will begin similar targeted activity in the coming weeks.
Although the primary intention of Operation Lepus is to catch and prevent those responsible for hare coursing; many of those involved in coursing activity have significant criminal records and a secondary, but nonetheless important aim, is the combating of other associated rural crimes.
Consequently, the effective combating of illegal hare coursing must be viewed as a mechanism that will reduce the threat of crime across rural communities.
The police cannot tackle this issue alone and if Operation Lepus is to be successful it will require input from landowners, farmers and the wider rural community.
In particular, Operation Lepus will benefit from the following actions:
• immediate reports to the police of illegal hare coursing activity taking place locally;
• reporting to the police of suspicious persons with dogs (normally lurchers) or vehicles;
• reports, even historic, that may identify areas of hare coursing that the police can target, and
• spreading the word with neighbours and those working in rural areas that Operation Lepus is ongoing.
Operation Lepus also involves extensive contact with those involved in land management, letting them know about the Operation and offering the opportunity to share information.
This information will be handled with great care to avoid breaches of confidentiality and used to further enhance the ability of the police to combat illegal hare coursing and other criminal activity.
To report any wildlife crime activity, please contact the relevant police force and ask to be put through to the Wildlife Crime Officer. If they are not available, you will still be able to report the incident. Record the incident number given to you by the police.
Scottish Police Forces Service Contact Numbers:
• Central Scotland Police: 01786 456000
• Dumfries & Galloway Constabulary: 0845 600 5 701
• Fife Constabulary: 0845 600 5 702
• Grampian Police: 0845 600 5 700
• Lothian & Borders Police: 0131 311 3131
• Northern Constabulary: 01463 715 555
• Strathclyde Police: 0141 532 2000
• Tayside Police: 0300 111 2222
To pass on information about a crime anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
To report an ‘ongoing’ or ‘urgent’ incident, dial 999.