The Countryside Restoration Trust (CRT) wholeheartedly supports the Government in its current crackdown on illegal hare coursing. We strongly believe that the new Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill which has just passed through the House of Commons will provide the long awaited tougher penalties and strengthened police powers.

Hare coursing is a wicked and cruel activity which has no part in rural life. It is ruthlessly pursued by depressingly well organised gangs of criminals whose only interest is the significant levels of illegal betting it attracts. It blights the countryside, especially in Eastern England, where it has reached almost epidemic proportions.

Tim Scott, who farms on Lark Rise Farm, near Cambridge, and is a trustee of the CRT, has had many bitter encounters with the coursing gangs invading his land. "They are out and out criminals who are mixed up in every kind of rural crime. This legislation from the Government is both very welcome but long overdue. The stronger powers and threat of imprisonment might just start to make a difference with these ghastly people."