CASES of hare coursing reported to police in the Lothians and Scottish Borders have more than halved.

Operation Galileo was carried out across East Lothian, Midlothian, West Lothian and the Borders and included police patrols and engagement with farmers and the local community.

Police Scotland revealed that the number of incidents reported to them between September 2019 and March 2022 had dropped by 55 per cent.

Constable Steven Irvine, wildlife and environmental crime officer, said: “Hare coursing is a cruel crime where dogs are used to illegally chase, catch, injure, and kill hares.

“It tends to be carried out by groups of individuals who arrive in a number of vehicles with dogs.

“The public have a vital role on helping us combat this and we ask anyone who sees anything suspicious to get in touch.

“If you come across evidence of potential hare coursing, such as vehicles gathering near open fields that are not owned by locals, or a dead hare, then please get in touch by calling 101 or make a call anonymously to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”