FOUR people have been fined after admitting to illegal hare coursing in rural Hampshire.

The quartet were caught by police in Gunners Lane, near Brown Candover, back in January in a poaching sting that involved the use of the police helicopter.

They were caught after officers found their vehicle stuck in mud at around 8.30pm on January 30, where they were arrested.

According to Farming Weekly, the practice of illegal hare coursing involved dogs that are trained to chase, overtake and turn a hare.

The four people that have been sentenced include three people from Surrey and one from London:

  • Mark Dean, 22, of Woodstock Lane, Chessington, Surrey
  • Dainchy Lee, 23, of Greenlands, Epsom, Surrey
  • Philip Smith, 31, of Guildford Road, Normandy, Surrey
  • Levi Williams, 23, of Lonesome Caravan Site, London

All four pleaded guilty to entering land as a trespasser at night with poaching equipment and two counts of criminal damage.

Additionally, Dean pleaded not guilty to possessing a bladed article in a public place.

Dean and Smith were fined £200, as well as being ordered to pay £557 in compensation and £85 in costs.

Williams was fined £307 and ordered to pay £557 in compensation and £85 in costs.

Lee was fined £80, ordered to pay £557 in compensation and £85 in costs. All four were made to pay a £32 victim surcharge.

Dean will stand trial at crown court next month for the charge of possession of a bladed article.