Police in Oxfordshire are joining forces with officers in Hungerford to run Operation Oust – designed to prevent hare coursing across the area.

Neighbourhood Sgt for Hungerford, Andy Bone, said: “All hare coursing is illegal in this country and yet there are people who still participate in the activity.

“They are nothing but a nuisance to local farmers. They damage crops, fences and buildings and are very often in breach of various traffic laws. The hare coursers are also illegally using The Ridgeway.

“Hare coursing happens in an area which borders both Oxfordshire and West Berkshire which is why we are doing this operation jointly.

“We are also able to cover a greater area with more officers enabling us to provide a visible presence and increase our ability to arrest as many offenders as possible.

“Anybody caught hare coursing will be arrested and their vehicles and dogs will be seized. We are working jointly with the RSPCA actively patrolling the areas targeting those responsible.

“Operation Oust will be running right through to Spring 2009 and will involve a team of up to 20 officers working together to put a stop to this activity.”

Anyone with any information that could help the police should contact Sgt Bone via the non-emergency number 0845 8 505505, or if you don’t want to talk to the police or give your name, call Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.