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Kennelling costs awarded in hare poaching prosecution first

Following recent news of the landmark first prosecution under a new law to tackle illegal hare poaching campaigned for by the Countryside Alliance, a further case has led to an award of £11,144 for kennelling and veterinary costs after dogs had been seized by police. This is believed to be the first time the courts have used their new authority to award kennelling costs, which was a key element in the suite of powers we campaigned for them to receive.

As reported by the BBC, Darren Lee, 26 and Ronnie Doherty, 21, respectively of Coventry and Northamptonshire, were arrested in the area of Holbeach, Lincolnshire and subsequently pleaded guilty to trespass with intent to pursue hares with dogs at the magistrates' court in Boston. In addition to the costs award they were each fined £415, banned from keeping dogs for five years and ordered to re-home their dogs and forfeit for destruction a thermal scope that had been used to detect hares by their body heat.

The case also represents the first prosecution under the new law of a case in Lincolnshire, which has been especially badly hit by hare poaching and the criminality associated with it.

David Bean, Parliament and Government Relations Manager for the Countryside Alliance, said:

"We campaigned alongside rural sector partners for the changes that became Section 66 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 for over five years, seeking to end the assault on rural communities from illegal hare poachers. Allowing the courts to award police kennelling and veterinary costs for dogs seized after being used in poaching was essential to making the resources available for these offences to be policed effectively. The use of these powers represents a real victory for rural communities and should be a strong deterrent of future criminality."

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