TWO men have been released under investigation after reports of hare coursing on farmland in the Ogbourne St Andrew area, near Marlborough.

They were stopped by officers on February 9. They had five dogs with them, as well as a catapult, ball bearings and a dead hare. Their vehicle was seized along with the other items.

The 25-year-old from Cirencester and a 19-year-old from Reading, were arrested on suspicion of hare coursing and criminal damage. They were also given fixed penalty notices for breaching lockdown by being away from home without having a valid reason.

PC Marc Jackson said: “Our message is clear, if we suspect anyone of hare coursing, we will act swiftly.

“We are cracking down on hare coursing here in Wiltshire and our rural crime team is working closely with our local community policing teams to ensure we are able to respond effectively.

“We also want to thank to the public for being our eyes and ears. Their quick reporting allows us to respond and catch people in the act”.

Wiltshire Police is committed to the national strategy, Operation Galileo, which allows police forces to use civil and criminal powers to prevent offending by hare coursers and protect vulnerable victims.