Men to pay nearly £20,000 for hare coursing and destroying farm's field

Apley.  Photo: Google MapsApley.  Photo: Google Maps
Apley. Photo: Google Maps
​Four men have been ordered to pay nearly £20,000 after they destroyed a farmer’s field near Wragby and were caught in possession of hare coursing equipment.

Eugene Meenaghan, Joseph Murtagh, Jay Poole, and Jake Reidy arrived in the hamlet of Apley in the early hours of October 1, 2023.

Lincolnshire Police reported that the group, who had travelled to the county from Doncaster, then drove through a farmer’s field, damaging the land and destroying crops, before attempting to leave the area.

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The crime was reported to Lincolnshire Police and patrolling officers from Spec Ops quickly identified the vehicle and stopped the group near Burton Waters.

Officers found longdogs and equipment such as lamps – used in lamping to stun wild animals before dogs are set loose.

They were arrested and subsequently videos of animal fights were found on their phones.

All four men were charged with being equipped to hare course, breach of section nine of the animal welfare act and criminal damage. They pleaded guilty to these charges.

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And today, Thursday, 25 April, officials at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court told the group to pay out a combined total of £19,791.72 in costs and compensation.

Eugene Meenaghan, 23, of Skellow, Doncaster, will pay £5,262,93. Joseph Murtagh, 22, of Woodlands, Doncaster, Jay Poole, 20, of Woodlands, Doncaster, and Jake Reidy, 18, of Stainforth, Doncaster, will all pay £4,842.93 each.

They were also given a 10-year criminal behaviour order not to enter Lincolnshire with longdogs. They have been disqualified from keeping dogs for a decade too.

The men will also have to carry out 100 hours of community service under probation and were asked to forfeit belongings, such as their mobile phones and lamps.

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Magistrates described the crimes as ‘cruel and despicable’ and said the events of that night had ‘caused great distress’.

This result comes after a lengthy police investigation and speaking after the court case, PC Karen Irving, who works for the rural crime action team, insists this behaviour won’t be tolerated.

She said: “We are determined to make Lincolnshire the safest place to live, work and visit. This result shows we will use all avenues available to us to bring people to justice and protect our communities and wildlife.

"A huge team effort involving a number of different departments, all with different skills united to demonstrate the strength of our commitment to protecting our rural towns, villages, and hamlets.

"To anyone thinking about travelling to Lincolnshire commit offences, my message is clear – don’t. If we find you, you will be punished.”