A man has been sentenced to community service following an investigation by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary country watch team into hare coursing in Crondall.

Police were called to farmland in the afternoon of November 22 last year following reports of a trespasser on the land whose lurcher dog was chasing hares.

The dog’s owner, later identified as 35-year-old John Giles, abandoned the animal and fled the scene before the police arrived.

With the assistance of local people including the landowner, shepherds and gamekeepers, police found the lurcher in a garden. The animal’s microchip led officers back to Giles, who called the police the next day to report his wife had lost their dog.

Police also found he was subject to a three-year criminal behaviour order, imposed by North Essex Magistrates’ Court in November 2020, with conditions that he must not allow a dog under his control off a lead unless he is on private land and with the landowner’s prior written permission.

Giles, of Winchester Road, Ash, Surrey, was charged with daytime trespass in pursuit of game and breaching a criminal behaviour order.

Appearing at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court yesterday, he admitted the offences and was given a 12-month community order, which will require him to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days. He was also fined £60 and ordered to pay a £114 victim surcharge.

Sgt Stuart Ross from the country watch team said: “The majority of dog owners look after their pets responsibly, and with respect to landowners, but sadly there is a minority who put the safety of livestock and wildlife at risk with their recklessness.

“John Giles showed total disregard for the criminal behaviour order imposed on him, as well as disregard for the landowner in this case, the welfare of surrounding wildlife, and also the welfare of his dog which he abandoned at the scene.

“This behaviour is unacceptable, and we want our communities living in rural areas to know that we take a very robust stance against people who act in this manner. We also want this to be a warning to individuals who behave in this way – action will be taken against you and you risk ending up with a criminal record.”

Anyone with information about rural crime such as poaching and hare coursing can report it to the police on 101 or at www.hampshire.police.uk

They should dial 999 if a crime is in progress.