Four Surrey men plead guilty to hare coursing in Little Stonham

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Four men from Surrey have pleaded guilty to hare coursing in Little Stonham.

Henry Fuller, 58, of Vevers Road, Reigate, Aaron Smith, 22, of New Causeway, Reigate, and Steven Smith, 45, and Jasper Smith, 42, both of Rectory Lane, Banstead, appeared at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court earlier today.

All of the men pleaded guilty to daytime trespass in pursuit of game and criminal damage to property valued under £5,000.

Sally Rose, prosecuting, told the court the men had been spotted with a vehicle and dogs in the middle of a field at Little Stonham on December 6, last year.

She said a witness had believed the men were hare coursing and police had found a number of dogs in the back of the vehicle and a hare that had died recently nearby.

Mrs Rose said the 49-acre field was planted with wheat at the time and the landowner had reported around £300 worth of damage to his crop.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Jasper Smith told the court they had travelled to Suffolk to buy a dog and had been told by someone else that they had permission to go ‘rabitting’ on the land.

He told magistrates they had not driven the car that had caused the damage.

Fuller said it was him who had bought the dog and his friends had accompanied him because he had not known the way.

“I’m a Gypsy, I can’t read or write,” he explained.

“I’m very sorry for any inconvenience we’ve caused today and any we caused the farmer,” he added.

Each of the men were ordered to pay £75 in compensation, costs of £50, a £50 fine and a £20 victim surcharge.