Two men due in court on rural crime charges

Two men, aged 40 and 76, are expected to appear at Aberdeen Sheriff Court today after being charged in relation to rural crimes in the north-east.

In total six men aged 17,18, 39, 40, 43 and 76 have been charged in relation to 23 crimes which include assaults, road traffic offences and 13 hare coursing crimes which occurred in the Huntly, Rothienorman, Fyvie, Alford, Insch, Turriff, St Katherines, Laurencekirk and Inverbervie areas.

This followed early morning raids on Friday at addresses in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

The targeted operation involved officers from North East Divisional Alcohol & Violence Reduction Unit (DAVRU) as part of Operation Black Falls.

Two vehicles have also been seized as part of the operation.

Hare coursing is a UK wildlife crime priority and is committed by a small number of individuals who will travel far and wide to indulge in this illegal blood sport.

Constable Iain Fraser who led the operation said: “North East Division has dedicated wildlife crime officers across the region who work extremely closely throughout the entire year with landowners and farmers and liaise with organisations such as the NFUS and the Scottish Land & Estates. However with hare coursing predominantly a seasonal crime, occurring during the spring as crops emerge into fields, days of targeted action like this are crucial to reinforce our message that such behaviour will not be tolerated.

“Hare coursing is a barbaric sport that has been banned for good reason. The animal suffers a horrendous death after it’s been chased around the field for several minutes, ending up exhausted and torn apart by a chasing dog.

“In addition intelligence has shown that the type of person who takes part in this type of activity is often linked to other types of criminality, mainly other wildlife crimes.

“Behaviour of such a cruel nature is not acceptable and I would urge any members of the public who witness such a crime, or know that one has taken place, to please contact Police.

“Also, if you are a farmer or a landowner and you would like to report any suspicious activity or people on your land – particularly suspicious people with dogs such as lurchers or greyhounds – I would ask you to contact us on 101. Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 in confidence.

“I hope this action provides reassurance that we are doing what we can to ensure the north-east is a hostile environment for such crime. We have the power to arrest and charge offenders and seize vehicles and dogs involved in illegal hare coursing and would ask for support and information from local communities to help us utilise these powers.”