Luke Pollard MP has revealed that hare coursing is being streamed live to Chinese gamblers by organised criminals in the UK. The illegal practice involves dogs, usually greyhounds or lurchers, which are trained to chase and overtake a hare. Mr Pollard has stated that these illicit events are carried out by highly organised crime gangs and webcast live to betting syndicates in China.
Luke Pollard MP said:
“It’s incredibly profitable work, and there is big money involved with this hare coursing.
“So we’re not talking about some people organising an illicit activity in a barn somewhere – we’re talking about highly organised criminals preying on rural communities.”
Mr Pollard went on to state that gangs in rural areas feel able to exploit the countryside for pursuits such as these, knowing that their crimes will not be reported or, if they are, that they will not get caught.
“We know that rural communities have seen the real brunt of the cut to police numbers since 2010. And we know that it takes a very long time for an emergency response – not because the police aren’t working hard enough, simply because there’s not enough of them and the geographies they have to cover are so big.
“It’s really increased the fear around rural crime. And we know that there are criminal gangs preying on rural communities, not just in terms of county lines but also in terms of the threats to people living in rural communities.
“Part of the challenge I think, at the heart of it, is to look at rural life the way it actually is now, not through picture postcards or our romantic views of rural life in the past but what’s it like today. There’s such pride in our countryside from the people who live there – but there are problems that need addressing.”
Mr Pollard’s comments come after the National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales and the Countryside Alliance called on police and crime commissioners to put rural policing at the forefront of their agenda.