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Trio caught armed with dogs to hunt hares claimed they were just walking their pets

Three men who were found in a Shropshire field armed to go hunting hares with dogs have been given a 12-month community order.

The three men appeared at Telford Magistrates Court
The three men appeared at Telford Magistrates Court

Kevin Skelding, 39, of Liz Clare Court, in Donnington, Telford; Craig Richards, 48, and Scott Richards, 33, both of Harold Road, Rowley Regis, all admitted trespassing in pursuit of game and being equipped to hunt hares with dogs.

They were prosecuted after West Mercia Police used new legislation aimed at preventing hare coursing for the first time.

At Telford Magistrates Court on Tuesday, Craig Richards was ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work while Scott Richards was ordered to do 120 hours and Skelding 100 hours. All three men were ordered to pay £624 each towards kennelling costs.

The court heard that a member of the public called police on October 28 2022, after spotting the three men with lurcher dogs on land in Market Drayton.

Police sent an armed response unit and scrambled the force helicopter.

At the scene, officers found an unattended Kia Sportage.

Skelding and Craig Richards were found hiding in a wooded area and arrested.

Scott Richards was found in a location away from the other two. The lurcher dogs were found with the vehicle.

The three were found to be in possession of a catapult and ball bearings as well as slip leads. They claimed they were just walking their dogs.

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