POACHERS have been fined £150 after pleading guilty to hare coursing.

Lewis Shaun Bleasby, 21, Liam Mark Crang, 18, from Darlington and Stuart Ian Bunting, 21, from Redcar appeared before Northallerton Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, November 28, after being charged with trespass in pursuit of game.

They were spotted coursing for hares with lurchers on fields in Newton Morrell, near Barton, North Yorkshire at 11.40pm on January 22.

Officers were quickly on the scene and the men were stopped in their vehicle near Barton.

They were interviewed and pleaded guilty in court on May 29. On Wednesday (November 28), magistrates fined the men £50 each.

They also had to pay £50 costs each and a victim surcharge of £15.

PC John Wilbor, Wildlife Crime Officer for North Yorkshire Police, said: “This is another good result for our rural communities who have again helped to bring poachers targeting our county to justice.

“Local residents and volunteers on the rural watch scheme play a huge part in keeping travelling criminals at bay and this is another case which highlights the valuable part they play in preventing crime in isolated locations.

“Poachers keep coming here and they keep getting caught thanks to the methods we have in place. Eventually word will get out and they will stop coming – until then we will remain vigilant and focused on stopping them in their tracks.”

To report poaching or rural crime contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 – select option 2 – and pass information to the force control room.

If you wish to remain anonymous, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800-555-111.